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Fox News Reporter Loses NY Appeal re: Holmes Leaks

A NY appeals court has ruled Fox News reporter Jana Winter can be compelled to testify in the James Holmes murder case in Colorado (background here). It did not rule she had to give up the law enforcement sources who leaked information to her -- that will be up to the Colorado judge to decide. NY has a more expansive reporters' shield law than Colorado. In Colorado, reporters have qualified, not absolute immunity.

You can read the opinion here. Two justices dissented, which means Winter can appeal to a higher NY court.

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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...]

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James Holmes Pleads Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

The judge presiding over the criminal case of James Holmes, accused of the Aurora theater shootings, has accepted Holmes' plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Today was the deadline for the filing of non-capital motions. The defense filed a slew of them. They are available here.

One motion gives notice the defense will move for a change of venue before trial. In other pleadings, it asks that the jury be sequestered during jury selection and that non-English speaking jurors be allowed to serve (and that the court provide translators.) [More...]

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The Cost of James Holmes Death Penalty Prosecution

Interesting segment last night on Fox News 31 (Denver) on the cost to taxpayers of prosecuting Aurora Theater Shooting defendant James Holmes as a death penalty case. It explains the cost is likely to be in the tens of millions of dollars. It brings up the Nathan Dunlap case, brought by the same office. Dunlap was recently scheduled for execution in August and a petition for clemency is pending. The cost of his case so far: $18 million.

It also points out that the D.A. turned down Holmes' offer to plead guilty and accept life without parole. I kept waiting for some former DA to come on and attempt to justify the decision to seek the death penalty. It didn't happen. Maybe they couldn't find anyone to take the other side.

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James Holmes Wants to Change Plea to Not Guilty (Insanity)

Lawyers for Aurora theater shooting defendant James Holmes notified the Court today Holmes wants to change his plea from Not Guilty to not guilty by reason of insanity.

On March 12, the date set for arraignment, Holmes' lawyers refused to enter a plea for him, so the Judge entered a plea of Not Guilty over their objections.

In an order today, the Judge indicates it's not for certain he'll allow the change of plea. The statute says an insanity plea must be raised at the arraignment. However, it also says that for good cause shown, an insanity plea can be entered at any time prior to trial. [More...]

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DA Seeks Death Penalty for James Holmes

Arapahoe County District Attorney, recently elected George Brauchler, has advised the Court his office will seek the death penalty against James Holmes, charged with the Aurora theater killings.

Chief Judge William Sylvester's response: He assigned the case to another judge due to the amount of resources that will be necessary now that the death penalty is being sought. [More...]

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DA Rejects James Holmes Offer to Plead to Life Without Parole

There will be a hearing Monday in the James Holmes Aurora shootings case. Monday is the date by which the District Attorney is expected to announce whether he will seek the death penalty. According to a recent defense filing republished by the Denver Post, Holmes offered to plead guilty before his arraignment earlier this month and accept a sentence of life without parole.

Prosecutors dispute the defense made an "unconditional" offer to plead guilty and object to the defense referencing its "purported" offer in a court pleading. It appears from the DA's response that they wanted information from Holmes before deciding whether to take the death penalty off the table. The DA says Holmes has refused to provide the requested information, thus it does not consider his offer to be a true offer. I don't get the state's position at all. [More...]

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Fox Reporter Fights Subpoena in James Holmes Case

Fox News reporter Jana Winter, who has been battling a subpoena to appear and testify about her source of information for an early article on the James Holmes case which contained court-restricted information, is scheduled to appear in court Monday pursuant to a defense subpoena. On Wednesday, the Court denied her latest request for an extension. The Court wrote: [More....]

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James Holmes: No Insanity Plea Yet

Defense lawyers for James Holmes in the Aurora theater case refused to enter a plea today, saying they needed more time. The judge denied the request for a continuance and entered a not guilty plea for Holmes. He can still change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity at a later date.

KUSA was allowed to take video of the proceedings but no audio capture was permitted. The Denver Post was granted permission to have a still camera in the courtroom and photos are here.

Holmes parents were in the courtroom. The judge set trial for August, 2013.

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James Holmes: Insanity Plea Subject to Truth and Drug Testing

James Holmes, the alleged Aurora Theater shooter, will enter a plea tomorrow. He is expected to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. The defense filed a lot of motions objecting to the procedure that will be followed, but the Judge denied them (Order here.)

Today the court issued its proposed advisement form for entering plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. You can read it here.

Of note, is paragraph 13, which will require Holmes, if asked, to submit to a "narcoanalytic interview." [More...]

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Defense Says No Plea Entry for James Holmes Friday

Update 1/11/13: The Judge continued the arraignment until March.

Update: The Judge has written a 62 page order finding probable cause and stating tomorrow's hearing, which previously was set to be a status hearing or arraignment, is now procedurally an arraignment, even though the defense is unlikely to enter a plea.

The hearing scheduled for January 11, 2013, at 9:00a.m. is HEREBY converted to an arraignment. This Court recognizes that the defense, in their Objection to Expanded Media Coverage (D-25), is requesting that the matter be set for a status hearing. This Court believes that procedurally it should be an arraignment, but notes, based on D-25, that the defense is likely to request a continuance of this arraignment and that the People should be on notice for Victims' Bill of Rights purposes.
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Aurora Shooting Suspect James Holmes Heads to Court

A week-long hearing begins today for Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes.

It is both a preliminary hearing and a "proof evident/presumption great" (bail) hearing, which the court refers to as a "preliminary/proof evident" hearing, for short. (No, bail is not really on the table, but the Judge does have to make findings regarding it.)

The defense received permission last week to subpoena and call two witnesses at the hearing, over the objection of prosecutors. The Court's order, which nicely explains the purposes and dual character of the hearing is here. [More...]

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James Holmes Charged With 142 Counts

Aurora movie theater suspect James Holmes is now a defendant, charged with 24 counts of first degree murder, 116 counts of attempted first degree murder, one count of possession of an explosive or incendiary device, and one count which is a sentence enhancement for commission of a violent crime.

The Complaint and Information is here.

The first degree murder charges are under CRS 18-3-102(1)(a) and (1)(d). [More...]

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James Holmes Court Advisement Tomorrow

Monday morning, James Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora movie theater shootings, will be advised of the charges against him. The DA previously said in a pleading not under seal there will 12 counts of first degree murder, attempted murder and other charges.

Holmes will not be called upon to plead tomorrow. It is not an arraignment, but an advisement.

There is one motion of interest that will be heard tomorrow -- the defense request for discovery pertaining to leaks about the package Holmes allegedly sent to a psychiatrist/professor (described here.) The DA filed this response, denying it has been established that law enforcement leaked the information. The DA says the news reports got so much wrong, they may just have fabricated their stories. The DA also says their office hasn't yet looked at the contents of the package. It was the Aurora Police Department, not the FBI, who obtained the search warrant, and there was one warrant, not two. [More...]

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James Holmes Lawyers Request Discovery on Leak of Package Sent to C.U.

Update: The judge will set a briefing schedule and hearing date on Monday for a newly filed new motion by the media to unseal the court file. The motion is jointly filed by a variety of local and news groups. With exhibits (which include orders from the unsuccessful Kobe Bryant and Perrish Cox prosecutions), it's 85 pages. As to their request to unseal the docket (called register of actions in Colorado courts) I think the argument is good. We should be able to know what was filed, even if the contents of the actual documents are sealed. I don't think every document filed in the case is deserving of sealing, and a showing should be made with each such request. That said, I hope the media doesn't prevail on its request for public access at this juncture to search warrant affidavits.

Lawyers for James Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora movie theater shootings, today filed this motion requesting discovery concerning the federal and state law enforcement agents who were were aware of or involved in the investigation of the package Holmes allegedly sent to a psychiatrist/professor at C.U., details of which were leaked to the media. [More...]

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