Aurora Theater Shooting

James Holmes case files: 37,000 pages, 436 discs, jail videos and more

In most cases, an order for prosecutors to make sure the defense team has access to all of their documents is commonplace. But there's no such thing as business as usual when it comes to the Aurora theater shooting.

In a newly released document on view below, 18th Judicial District DA George Brauchler asks the judge in the case to clarify his order about sharing items with defense, given that they've already shared 37,000 pages of documents and 436 discs -- and there may be a lot more than that.

The response notes that on April 10, Judge Carlos Samour, who recently took the court reins from original Judge William Sylvester, "indicated that the prosecution would be required to certify in writing that they have gone through the 'files' of all agencies participating in the investigation in this case and certify that all discoverable items therein have been provided to the defense in discovery."

Samour doesn't have the authority to make such an order, the response argues -- but on the chance he actually does, prosecutors request clarification of what he actually means. After all, Brauchler's team is said to have supplied the defense with 37,000 pages of discovery documents, plus "198 other CD-ROM disks, 236 DVD disks and 2 Blu-Ray ROM Disks (436 total optical storage disks)." They contain "various types of information, including audio recordings, video recordings, business records, photographs, computer forensic reports, laboratory files, and other information."

Problem is, the various agencies involved in the investigation haven't all kept files, but have instead stored info on disks that "might only be readable to an expert with special software." The response adds that forensic computer analysis discs "contain thousands of individual files of various types, including photographs, electronic data that appears to be virtual gibberish to the untrained eye, messages, web searches" and more.

And that's not to mention approximately one-hundred discs of "video recordings showing the defendant while in the jail."

As such, prosecutors ask if Samour wants them to, for instance, "individually review all optical storage disks in evidence (430 disks at this point in time) at a police department and to physically compare them to all optical storage disks that have been provided in discovery to make sure that they are identical in all respects."

Should the answer to that question be "yes," the prosecutors imply that they'll come up with a slew of objections to the order.

Another odd revelation from the document: The Aurora Police Department assigned a single individual, Detective Chris Fanning, "the task of managing discovery for this case, and this case only, on a full time basis from shortly after the commission of the offense until late 2012" -- and since then, Fanning "has continued to manage discovery on a part-time basis." The prosecutors say this is the first time such an assignment has been made in the history of the APD.

Look below to read the document in its entirety.

James Holmes Case: Response to Court's Oral Order

More from our Aurora Theater Shooting archive: "Aurora theater shooting suspect considering insanity plea: Read the motions here."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts