DENVER (AP) — The judge in the deadly Colorado theater shootings said Friday that if he accepts James Holmes’ insanity plea next week, he will hear arguments about whether prosecutors can see a notebook that Holmes sent to a psychiatrist.
Judge Carlos Samour Jr. plans to consider on Tuesday whether to accept Holmes’ plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.
Defense lawyers objected to discussing the notebook on the same day, saying they were overwhelmed with other work. Samour responded that the Holmes’ attorneys have known for months that the notebook would be an issue and that he has already granted them extra time to prepare for next week.
Holmes is charged with fatally shooting 12 people and injuring 70 in an attack at an Aurora movie theater during a packed midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Before the shootings, Holmes mailed a notebook to a psychiatrist he had been seeing. Media reports have said the notebook contains drawings depicting violence, but the contents haven’t been confirmed publicly.
Holmes’ lawyers have argued the notebook is protected by doctor-patient privilege, but defendants who plead insanity are required to turn over some medical and mental health records. If Samour accepts Holmes’ insanity plea, prosecutors are certain to argue they are entitled to see the notebook.
Holmes needs court permission to change his plea to insanity because a judge entered a standard not guilty plea on his behalf in March, when defense lawyers said Holmes wasn’t ready to plead.
In another motion filed Friday, prosecutors asked Samour to allow victims to be allowed in the courtroom for hearings and the trial, even though defense attorneys may attempt to sequester them because they might be asked to testify.
Prosecutors also asked the judge to order that defense attorneys share reports or statements of expert witnesses they might call to testify.
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