James Holmes First Court Appearance

Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes made his first court appearance today. The full video is above.

Update below: Statement from Arlene Holmes, Jame's mother, about media misconstruing her statement about "having the right person." She was confirming the reporter had reached the right person (her, the mother of James Holmes who lived in Colorado) and not anything about his personality or the shootings, as she didn't know about the shootings when she got the call at 5:45 a.m. Statement below, as read by her attorney:

This statement is to clarify a statement made by ABC media. I was awakened by a call from a reporter from ABC on July 20, about 5:45 in the morning. I did not know anything about a shooting in Aurora at that time. He asked if I was Arlene Holmes and if my son was James Holmes, who lives in Aurora, Colorado. I answered, "Yes, you have the right person."

I was referring to myself. I asked him to tell me why he was calling and he told me about a shooting in Aurora. He asked for a comment. I told him I could not comment because I did not know if the person he was talking about was my son.

The Holmes' are represented by Lisa Damiani of San Diego, whom I first met 15 years ago and have associated with on cases. She's very smart, capable and professional.
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    I was wondering about the (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by nycstray on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:59:22 PM EST
    comment from his mother. Glad she clarified, as I was thinking there wasn't enough info surrounding the comment for it to mean anything particular about her son.

    I thought that was probably what she (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:03:59 PM EST
    really meant. It did not make much sense the other way.

    Look up what the ABC producer who (none / 0) (#32)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 12:12:59 AM EST
    talked to her has to say (I think Politico links to it).  He's quite emphatic about how the conversation went.

    I'm not going to look it up (none / 0) (#34)
    by sj on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 01:02:47 PM EST
    I've spent all day in search engines and don't want more of it.  But I will observe that it doesn't really matter how the conversation went.  Haven't you ever misspoken or otherwise been somewhat less than clear when you're not fully awake?  Or when you're trying to figure out what's going on?

    And what would be his point? (none / 0) (#36)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 02:38:57 PM EST
    Other than defending the reporting?

    Not saying the media outlets don't have the right to do that, but given how often they get things wrong (see Brian Ross on this same story), how seldom they apologize for it, how easily they manipulate for their own purposes the body of knowledge available to them, I'd have to say that in this case, it would have been nice if they had had it in them to say something along the lines of, "while we stand behind our reporting on this, we also recognize the extreme stress and shock that has accompanied this event, not just for the families of the victims, but for the family of the person alleged to be responsible for it.  Our conversation with Mrs, Holmes, while undertaken with the best of intentions, and in the interest of gathering as much information as possible, may have been construed as needlessly hasty as well as intrusive and insensitive and contributed to her pain, dismay and grief.  For that, ABC most sincerely apologizes."

    And then, for God's sake, let it go.


    Seeing (none / 0) (#1)
    by lentinel on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 01:55:14 PM EST
    Holmes with his red hair - dyed to look like the Joker character with whom he said he identified - is really weird.

    What is even weirder is that apparently some people showed up at the meeting in Aurora prayer vigil wearing "Dark Knight" tee shirts.

    I don't get it.

    I don't mind the tee shirts (none / 0) (#12)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:38:11 PM EST
    Seems like an act of defiance to me, like taking the movie away from the killer and giving it back to the fans.

    After hearing Chris Hedges on Moyers (none / 0) (#2)
    by jondee on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 02:26:53 PM EST
    I'm wondering if, in the final analysis, Holmes's actions were that much more disdainful of his fellow citizens well being than the ethos of the outsourcing, union-busting, community-shredders who seem to have hi-jacked, utterly, the political zeitgeist in this country..

    The cherished ideal in some circles now being every-man-a-mercenary-island-unto-himself (who does things completely "by himself"..)

    Holmes sure did something by himself, didn't he? He didn't need anyone's help..No handouts for him..

    WSWS: evasions rather than explanations (none / 0) (#3)
    by Andreas on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 02:32:36 PM EST
    An article by David North, Chairman of the WSWS International Editorial Board:

    The Aurora Massacre: Once again, evasions rather than explanations

    23 July 2012

    Holmes appearance and body language (none / 0) (#4)
    by samsguy18 on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 03:17:25 PM EST
    Appears to be that of someone mentally Ill...he looks schizophrenic

    Well, almost by definition, (none / 0) (#5)
    by Zorba on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:08:57 PM EST
    He would have to have some kind of mental illness or profound mental aberration or sociopathology, to do something like this.  "Normal" people don't go around killing random others.

    By all accounts, Holmes ... (none / 0) (#22)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:02:00 PM EST
    ... was a very smart and even brilliant young man, who excelled in his studies and graduated with honors from both his high school and the Univ. of California at Riverside. He had to be excellent, to be accepted as a Ph.D candidate in neuroscience at the Univ. of Colorado.

    In my opinion, Holmes was probably wound too tightly in the first place, and just unraveled  mentally and emotionally under the pressures and rigors of academia (and probably life in general). There's little question in my mind that he's probably quite mentally ill.

    Regardless, he should probably be meticuolously examined by medical professionals. Sometimes abnormal behavior such as sociopathy can be triggered in otherwise normal people by an undiagnosed physical ailment, such as a brain tumor.


    Yes (none / 0) (#23)
    by Zorba on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:13:58 PM EST
    There can, indeed be an underlying physiological illness.  Although, I am willing to predict that this not the case here, since such causes for behaviors like this are exceedingly rare.
    But I would hope that medical, psychological, behavioral, and other specialists would have a chance to examine him, as you said.

    Are there psychosis fashions (none / 0) (#35)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 01:30:10 PM EST
    or genres?

    All these young men from relatively privileged backgrounds running amok in the last couple of decades makes me think of the stories of young men committing suicide in the early nineteenth century who were supposedly inspired by Goethe's novel The Sorrows of Werther..

    There certainly was a fair amount of young-men-running-amok imagery in The Basketball Diaries, Heathers, and (some say) The Matrix..

    People, particularly young, lost, people are suggestable..I know a lot of people would prefer to stay in denial about that, but if people weren't extremely suggestable, Madison Ave would've gone out of business a long time ago..


    Now, that is (none / 0) (#37)
    by Zorba on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 02:49:23 PM EST
    a very interesting speculation.  While I have never read anything about this, it doesn't mean that nobody has looked at this- there may well be some psychological/sociological articles about this out there, somewhere.  If not- a fascinating research topic for someone getting their advanced degree in sociology, psychology, criminology, forensic studies, etc.

    No. See the story in the LAT (none / 0) (#25)
    by Towanda on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 10:27:36 PM EST
    (I thought that I linked it here earlier?) about an internship, in which Holmes was a failure.  And his supervisor said Holmes' high school grades were not those of a brilliant student.  

    Clearly, just like candidates, he has to release his transcripts!

    That he must have done better in college to get into grad school sounds much like many troubled students I have known, who do have the intelligence (so they score highly on the GREs that can outweigh transcripts) but refuse at whim to do the work, look down on others who do so -- and, in the case of the internship, others who try to guide them.  That also would be exactly the sort of behavior that would cause problems in grad school again, causing him to have to leave.


    He looks (none / 0) (#6)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:11:18 PM EST
    ...like he's massively sedated.

    that's how it looks to me (none / 0) (#7)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:19:09 PM EST
    Ditto. At one point it looked (none / 0) (#8)
    by nycstray on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:22:06 PM EST
    like he was trying to keep his eyes open. Have they examined him?

    I am wondering what the rules are about (none / 0) (#9)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:29:28 PM EST
    medicating people in custody? Does his family or lawyer have to approve? did he ask for it?

    I am interested in seeing the true state of his mind and motivations, which we can't do if he is drugged up. On the other hand if this sleepy state is indicative of his condition and not due to drugs, that is information too.


    See (none / 0) (#10)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:31:37 PM EST
    Sell v. US, at least at it applies to any future competency issues.

    Holmes just looks like he hasn't slept in a while to me.


    Something very wrong here (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 12:09:11 AM EST
    I don't care how sleepy you are, you're going to wake up big-time when you're about to be charged with multiple counts of murder.  And if you're so anxious about it that you can't sleep, you're not then going to drowse off in court.

    IOW, not buying the "sleepy" explanation.  He did look drugged, but he's also obviously massively mentally disturbed, so you can't expect "normal" reactions from him unmedicated, either.


    Or, (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 08:20:52 AM EST
    As someone who studied neuroscience, and knows how the brain works (and how the body would respond in certain situations), he could be completely faking it too. He would know how to "look crazy" if he wanted to.

    We have no idea if he's "massively disturbed" or not.  Is he?  Probably. But to look at a clip from a news program or a still picutre and make a diagnosis is pure speculation.


    His ability to fake it would depend upon (none / 0) (#38)
    by Zorba on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 03:04:58 PM EST
    the particular area of neuroscience that he was studying.  If he was, for instance, studying cellular or molecular neuroscience, he would not necessarily know how to "fake it" any more than any other cellular or molecular biologist would.  Neuroscience encompasses a huge amount of territory, at both the micro and the macro level.  (And it would also depend upon how good an actor he was, for that matter.)
    I do agree, however, that looking at a clip is very much insufficient grounds for making any kind of diagnosis.  All we can say at this point is that he is not exactly a normal person.  Normal people do not go around killing strangers, by definition.

    Acting (none / 0) (#39)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 03:31:17 PM EST
    Plays a big part of it.  My uneducated guess is that he's some kind of sociopath, but I really have no idea.

    "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit."

    An Oscar-worthy performance, if there ever was one.

    No, I agree "normal" people do not go around committing mass murder. Disturbed people do.  So do truly evil ones.  Which one is Holmes?  No idea.


    I agree (none / 0) (#40)
    by Zorba on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 04:09:24 PM EST
    And we may never know which category he is really in, especially if he is a superb actor.  Sociopaths are often very clever, very glib, very good actors, and very hard to figure out, except by their actions.  Most of them, in fact, do not become serial or spree killers.  Those who have a mental illness (other than sociopathology) will oftentimes be found out- although even at that, not always.
    Psychology, psychiatry, and sociology are not yet exact sciences.  They get closer every year, but they're certainly not there yet.
    Sociopatholgy (what they used to call psychopathology), antisocial personality disorder, and other related disorders are not the same things as schizophrenia, paranoia, and other diagnoses that are under the broad heading of "mental illness."  It doesn't mean that they are "normal" mentally, of course, and it is still not fully understood.  But it's a different type of mental- let's call it "disorder."

    thanks. I'm assuming he has not had (none / 0) (#11)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:36:33 PM EST
    any competency examinations yet.

    I agree, looks very sleepy either due to lack of sleep or sedation.


    Maybe a reaction to 100mg vicodin (none / 0) (#21)
    by ZtoA on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:41:04 PM EST
    Maybe taking that dose of vicodin would be an attempt at suicide that he survived and is still reacting to. I think 100mg is a lethal dose for some.

    Eh. (none / 0) (#17)
    by Addison on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:31:23 PM EST
    I don't know. He looks fatigued and dazed. Looks more like post-concussion behavior than schizophrenia to me. Now I don't think he is concussed, and this is not a medical opinion nor a tele-diagnosis, just saying what it looks like to me (as opposed to whatever it actually is). But schizophrenia is not what I thought of when I saw the footage today.

    Anti-psychotic drugs (none / 0) (#31)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 12:11:22 AM EST
    do this, which is why people so often stop taking them.

    I don't think we have a clue what was going on here until they tell us, if they ever do.


    It's a pretty classic trajectory (none / 0) (#29)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 12:04:47 AM EST
    Jeralyn, in your update (none / 0) (#14)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:02:54 PM EST
    I think you meant

    "She was confirming the reporter had reached the right person" not "She was not confirming the reporter had reached the right person".

    yes, I fixed it thanks (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:18:03 PM EST
    Uh Jeralyn (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:25:42 PM EST
    they got the right person, her son.

    Maybe she did not know it then but she knows it now.

    I am for leaving the poor woman in peace, but I found that statement rather infuriating.

    I find the media's portrayal (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:20:51 PM EST
    of her confirming she was the mother of James Holmes as something other than that objectionable.

    It's how misinformation gets spread. The media has been reporting she wasn't surprised to learn he was involved in a shooting, as if she expected it.


    I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:23:27 PM EST
    The reporting indicated that they described where the person named James Holmes was and she seemed to confirm that her son lived in Aurora.

    Coming a number of days later, she now knows it was her son they were referring to.


    I agree with that assessment (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:41:28 PM EST
    Most of the early reports only quoted her saying 'you have the right guy' with the spin that she was not surprised that he was involved. There was no context of the conversation they had with her, just the quotation thrown out there.

    "person" not "guy" (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by sj on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 11:06:34 PM EST
    "You have the right person" was the original quote.

    I got that impression as well, (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by rjarnold on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 01:09:13 AM EST
    not only from how it was reported, but also from the commentary on it, as I've seen several experts saying that the mom obviously knew there was a problem. I probably wouldn't have learned the truth about it were it not for this blogpost.

    no audio, so it now becomes a he said she said (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by ding7777 on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 09:06:50 AM EST
     Just prior to the press conference, Damiani contacted ABC News to determine whether there existed a recording of the pre-dawn conversation between Mosk and her client, according to Mosk.

    One hour after learning there was no audio recording, Damiani held the conference and read Arlene Holmes' statement