National News

October 18, 2013

Holmes lawyers want his emails barred as evidence

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Lawyers for Colorado theater shooting defendant James Holmes have added Holmes’ emails to the list of evidence they say should not be allowed at his trial.

The defense said Friday the affidavits and court orders used to obtain the emails were so broad they netted emails that merely mentioned Holmes but weren’t sent to or from his accounts.

Prosecutors say the requests had to be broad because investigators initially didn’t know if Holmes had accomplices.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the July 2012 attack.

Prosecutors are looking for any evidence, such as emails, that would undermine Holmes’ insanity defense.

Holmes’ lawyers are also trying to keep his statements to police from being used as evidence.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

The courtroom battle over what evidence can be used against Colorado theater shooting defendant James Holmes has grown heated, with a defense lawyer aggressively questioning police officers about why Holmes was not allowed to see an attorney for hours after his arrest.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the July 2012 attack, which killed 12 people and injured 70 others. In pretrial hearings this month, prosecutors and defense lawyers are arguing over any bit of evidence that might help make the case that Holmes was or wasn’t sane.

On Friday, they will debate Holmes’ email records. Thursday, they skirmished over statements Holmes made to police about the bombs found in his apartment.

Some of those statements could be used by prosecutors to undermine Holmes’ insanity defense, said Dan Recht, a longtime Denver lawyer not involved in the Holmes case.

“It’s the prosecution’s view that those statements show a degree of forethought and a degree of articulateness that are indications of a sane person and not an insane person,” Recht said.

Police questioned Holmes about the bombs after he had asked for a lawyer but before he was allowed to see one.

The defense argues the delay in letting Holmes see a lawyer violated his constitutional rights. Prosecutors said the questions about the explosives were legal because lives were in danger and police needed to know how to defuse the bombs.

Defense attorney Tamara Brady aimed pointed questions at law enforcement officers Thursday, her voice sometimes rising. She said they made Holmes wait more than 13 hours to see a lawyer even though they knew two attorneys were waiting to see him.

Arapahoe County Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. hasn’t said when he will rule on the whether Holmes’ statements can be used.

Even if he excludes the statements, prosecutors still have a strong case, legal analysts say. Holmes’ attorneys have acknowledged he was the shooter, but they say he was in the midst of a psychotic episode.

Holmes’ trial is scheduled to start in February. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

 

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