James Holmes Court Hearing: Judge Denies Colorado Movie Shooting Victims Access to Sealed Documents
Nov 01, 2012 06:29 PM EDT
Judge William Sylvester denied victims in the Colorado movie shooting access to sealed documents in the murder trial of alleged shooter James Egan Holmes. The decision comes after the judge also denied requests by prosecutor and defense alike to keep names of the victims from public records.
According to the Judge releasing these documents would "jeapordize the defendant's right to a fair trial," as reported by WPTV.
Many of the surviving victims have filed a class action suit against the theater for lax secutiy.
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Both defense and prosecution in the James Holmes shootout case requested that the names of victims be kept from public, but Judge Sylvester over-ruled the requested and stated that the names of the victims will remain open to the public.
While defense argued that having the names of the victims out in the public will likely create a bias against his client, prosecution argued that victims were being harassed by the media and therefore their names and identities should be kept under wrap. The judge disagreed with both arguments.
In a court hearing last week, Judge Sylvester also set the court date for a preliminary hearing in the James Holmes shootout case for the first week of January 2013. According to the Chicago Tribune, the hearing will take place on the week of January 7.
At the preliminary hearing prosecutors will present the court with its evidence against the 24-year-old accused of opening fire at an Aurora movie house- killing 12 and seriously injuring 59.
Holmes and his defense team will likely enter a plea at the hearing. Holmes has been charged with 142 counts of murder and attempted murder. Initially the Ph.D. drop out was charged with 116 counts of attempted murder and 12 counts of murder, however, earlier this month prosecution under Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Pearson added 14 additional charges.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the preliminary hearing might take several days, before the case progresses into advance stages of the legal process.
Earlier this month, Judge Sylvester granted prosecutors access to Holmes' school records. The documents released to prosecutors include all of the neuroscience program dropout's school records, existing police records and information relating to his withdrawal from the Ph.D. program. However, the judge denied them access to the notorious diary, which was discovered days after he opened fire in an Aurora movie house. Sylvester denied access to the book, citing that it breached doctor-patient confidentiality.
Currently, the alleged shooter Holmes is being held in a detention facility of Arapahoe County in solitary confinement. The past few weeks have resulted in some revealing details of Holmes mental state.
Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney Carol Chambers told News Day that she is considering pursuing the death penalty, but only after consulting with the victims and their families.
On July 20, at a midnight screening of the cult-inducing Dark Knight Rises film at a movie house in Aurora, Colorado, Holmes, opened fire killing 12 people and injuring 59 others. He was arrested that morning and placed in custody.