Colorado shooting judge won’t overturn insanity law
by Dan Elliott, Associated Press
March 08, 2013 10:55 AM | 518 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DENVER (AP) — The judge in the deadly Colorado theater shootings has denied a request by defense lawyers to declare a state law on the insanity plea unconstitutional.

In a ruling released Friday, state District Judge William Sylvester granted one defense request, for a written explanation of the consequences of pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.

The ruling appears to clear the way for suspect James Holmes to enter a plea as scheduled on Tuesday. His lawyers had said they could not responsibly advise Holmes how to plead because of questions they had about the insanity law.

They asked Blair to overturn the law, arguing it was unconstitutionally vague and violated Holmes’ Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination.

Under Colorado law, when a defendant pleads guilty by reason of insanity, prosecutors have access to potentially incriminating evidence such as mental health records.

Defendants who simply plead not guilty are not required to turn over such information, the lawyers argued.

Sylvester’s ruling, dated Thursday, said appeals courts have already upheld the insanity law. Blair also said he wouldn’t address some questions raised by the defense because they are “dependent on hypothetical facts.”

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 at a movie theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora on July 20. He is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.

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