The judge in the Aurora theater shooting case has settled on the advisement that he will read to James Holmes should the suspect plead not guilty by reason of insanity at tomorrow's arraignment.
It includes warnings that if Holmes enters such a plea, he'll be subject to a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation and perhaps a narcoanalytic interview.
Holmes's lawyers have indicated that he may enter an insanity plea and asked Judge William Sylvester to advise their client of the consequences.
Holmes is charged with 166 crimes related to the July 20 shooting at the Century 16 theater in Aurora that left twelve dead and seventy wounded. They include 24 counts of first-degree murder, 140 counts of attempt to commit first-degree murder, one count of possession of explosive devices and one sentence enhancer for a crime of violence.
In January, prosecutors laid out some of their evidence against Holmes at a three-day preliminary hearing. Afterward, Sylvester found probable cause that Holmes committed the crimes and scheduled an arraignment, at which Holmes will enter a plea, for March 12.
But first, Holmes's defense attorneys had questions about the state's insanity defense laws. They asked the judge to clarify the meaning of the word "cooperate" -- as in, the law says defendants must cooperate with court-ordered mental examinations -- as well as the term "mental condition." They also asked the judge to rule that "state doctors should not be allowed to interrogate Mr. Holmes about the facts of the case" or cause him to incriminate himself, in addition to asking the judge to rule the laws unconstitutional.
But Sylvester found that Colorado's insanity defense laws are indeed constitutional. As to the definitions of "cooperate" and "mental condition," he ruled that the terms "are not so vague that men of ordinary intelligence must necessarily guess as to the meaning." He also found that the laws "do not violate defendant's right against self-incrimination."
On a separate issue, Sylvester has granted a request from Holmes's attorneys to preserve a video of Holmes at Denver Health Medical Center, where he was held for several days, often in restraints. According to request from the suspect's lawyers, Holmes was transferred to Denver Health on November 15, 2012 after the county attorney filed a motion stating that he "was in immediate need of a psychiatric evaluation" at an in-patient facility because he "was a danger to himself at the detention center."
The request notes that his hospitalization in November was separate from "an earlier hospitalization that resulted from potential self-inflicted head injuries in his cell."
Continue to read Sylvester's advisement to Holmes, his ruling on the constitutionality of the state's insanity defense laws, Holmes's request to preserve the Denver Health video and Sylvester's order granting the request.
More from our Aurora Theater Shooting archive: "Aurora theater shooting: Judge delays hearing about Fox News information 'leak.'"Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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