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Holmes Judge to Hear Challenge to Insanity Law

Defense says it's unconstitutional
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2013 2:00 AM CDT
James Holmes Judge Will Hear Legal Challenge to Insanity Law
James Holmes, Aurora theater shooting suspect, sits in the courtroom during his arraignment in Centennial, Colo., in a Tuesday, March 12, 2013 file photo.   (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

(Newser) – The judge in the Aurora movie theater shooting case will listen to defense lawyers' arguments against the constitutionality of Colorado's insanity defense law, Reuters reports. The law is unconstitutional, lawyers say, because it says James Holmes can't summon mental health experts of his own choosing—rather than court-appointed ones—at sentencing. In making Holmes cooperate with these court-appointed psychiatrists, he could be forced to share details that could play a role in his sentencing—which could mean self-incrimination, they argue.

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Prosecutors, however, disagree: "It is well-established law in Colorado that submitting to court-ordered evaluation does not violate a defendant's Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination." Judge Carlos Samour Jr. will hear arguments on the matter next week. (Read more James Holmes stories.)

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