3,500 Jurors May Be Called for James Holmes Case

The judge in the Aurora Theater shooting case of James Holmes wrote in an order yesterday that 3,500 prospective jurors may be called for his trial. The order, which grants the defense request for a questionnaire to be submitted to jurors in advance of trial, is here.

He noted that the Prosecution had not yet responded to the request, but even if they did and opposed it, he'd use a questionnaire anyway. [More...]

In other orders this week, the judge ruled that summoned jurors will only be called for the Holmes case, and they will randomly selected in accordance with the Colorado Uniform Jury Selection and Service Act. He also granted, over the state's objection, a defense request to be provided the names of potential jurors as soon as they are available to the Jury Commissioner.

He denied a request that prospective jurors be sequestered. Jury selection is expected to take weeks.

On the defense request for individual voir dire out of the presence of other prospective jurors, he ordered:

The Court will allow counsel to question prospective jurors individually and outside the presence of other prospective jurors on death qualification issues and publicity issues.

Denial of the defendant's request for individual sequestered voir dire on these topics would risk tainting the entire panel of prospective jurors. On the other hand, allowing the attorneys to ask all of their jury selection questions during individual sequestered voir dire is unnecessary and would be impractical and inefficient.

In a footnote he adds:

On the rare occasion that a prospective juror's answers to the jury questionnaire raise an issue unrelated to death qualifications or publicity which is of a sensitive nature, the Court, in its discretion, may expand the scope of individual sequestered voir dire.

The defense filed a notice that it intends to seek a change of venue. The Colorado rules state that motion should be filed by the arraignment date, unless good cause is shown. The Court responded that it would consider whether the motion The judge responded that he would determine whether good cause exists and if the motion should be granted after it is filed. He expects to have a hearing on the issue.

The Court's advisement to Holmes about his insanity plea, and acceptance of the plea is here. In it he explains the trial process:
A plea of not guilty by reason of insanity includes the plea of not guilty. Further, the issues raised by a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity are treated as an affirmative defense and are tried at the same proceeding and before the same trier of fact as the charges to which the plea of not guilty by reason of insanity is offered as a defense.

Every person is presumed to be sane; but, once any evidence of insanity is introduced, the prosecution has the burden of proving sanity beyond a reasonable doubt. If the trier of fact finds you not guilty by reason of insanity, the Court shall commit you to the custody of the Department of Human Services until such time as you are found eligible for release. A defendant is "ineligible for release" if he is suffering from a mental disease or defect which is likely to cause him to be dangerous to himself, to others, or to the community, in the reasonably foreseeable future, if he is permitted to remain at liberty.

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  • Display: Sort:
    How many more millions (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 08:37:55 PM EST
    will this prosecutor's ego cost the taxpayers of Colorado?

    Unfortunately, the taxpayers won't care (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 09:58:39 PM EST
    Check out this new poll this week from Quinnipac -- 69% say the death penalty should not be replaced by life without parole. Women favor it by 63 - 27 percent, while men support continuation of the death penalty by 75 - 21 percent.

    Republicans: 87% support the death penalty. Independents: 73% support.

    So Coloradans now support the death penalty by 3 to 1. Even though 57% do not think it deters murder. To me this suggests they only care about retribution.

    To show how ignorant these views are, 53% think the death penalty is fairly applied. Yet we have three people on death row and all are African-American and were were tried and sentenced in Arapahoe county, where James Holmes is being tried. This January 2013 study found:

    [W]hile the death penalty was an option in approximately ninety two percent of all first degree murders, it was sought by the prosecution initially in only three percent of those killings, pursued all the way through sentencing in only one percent of those killings, and obtained in only 0.6 percent of all cases.

    A bill to repeal the death penalty failed this year -- quickly. In 2009, it lost by only one vote in the Senate.

    Colorado hasn't executed anyone since 1977.

    All this, despite as you bring up, the cost.  The cost of Holmes' death penalty prosecution is estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars before it's over.  The cost for Nathan Dunlap, who was just granted a reprieve from the death penalty, is $18 million so far.

    Considering Holmes offered to plead guilty and take life without parole, who in their right mind would want to spend $18 million for the chance to kill him? If he's sentenced to death, it will be decades before he's executed. Life without parole is a death sentence -- the only way out is in a pine box when you're dead.  


    Also from the poll (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 06:33:03 AM EST
    ....while Democrats say 49 - 41 percent switch to life in prison without parole.

    Well, (none / 0) (#4)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:26:42 AM EST
    since the American religion, Money, is worshipped more than life, spending "tens of millions of dollars" on this national, fruitless, metaphorical orgasm serves a very important psychological purpose. Since we're so very civilized and, can't kill an actual person, we'll spend all this money and kill the Middle-Class instead.

    That'll show us!