Judge calls for hearing regarding Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes' insanity plea

1:19 PM, May 16, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - Judge Carlos A. Samour, Jr. wants to hear arguments on how to advise Aurora theater shooting James Holmes on the rights he will give up if Holmes officially pleads "not guilty by reason of insanity."

This is a response to a defense motion challenging the requirement of cooperation with psychiatrists at the risk of being barred from presenting evidence of mental condition at a potential death penalty sentencing hearing.

The defense team argued in an earlier brief that requirement is unconstitutional.

Attorneys representing Holmes say they have an expert who says the suspect is and was mentally ill when he he killed 12 people and injured dozens of others in the July 2012 shooting. His defense team formally asked the judge to change Holmes' plea from "not guilty" to "not guilty by reason of insanity."

On Monday, the defense team came out and said they wanted to officially change the plea. The judge asked if the defense had "good cause to file a change" of plea. The defense said they did.

The prosecution argued that the defense took too long to change the plea. The team pointed out it's been 294 days since the defense was appointed and 62 days since the arraignment in March.

The defense team countered that point by saying "Mr. Holmes' mental illness hasn't changed in the last 60 days. No mental expert worth their salt will render an opinion until they have a chance to review all the material."

Prosecution raised the point that there are 40,000 pages of discovery to weed through in the case.

"I think allowing Holmes to change a plea is consistent with the fairness and justice," Samour said.

The hearing regarding the plea advisement will be scheduled soon.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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