A judge overseeing the case of the Colorado shooting suspect has denied a defense request to have an expert present during all scientific testing of evidence.
In issuing his order Thursday, Arapahoe County District Court Judge William Sylvester said James Holmes' defense team has a right to have an expert present only when evidence will be destroyed during testing.
Prosecutors must give Holmes' defense team 48 hours notice when there's a possibility that evidence will be destroyed.
Sylvester wrote that Holmes' due process rights are preserved by current court rules that also allow independent defense testing of evidence and cross examination of prosecution experts. Sylvester also noted that prosecutors must provide the defense team access to all statements and reports by experts regarding scientific testing, physical or mental health examinations.
The judge's decision was posted on the 18th Judicial District's website (http://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/District/Case_Details.cfm?Case_ID=152) just hours before attorneys were due in court on other matters.
They were expected to argue about a potential piece of evidence but now that argument won't be heard until later. The issue at hand was whether a package James Holmes sent to a psychiatrist he had sought out for help falls under doctor-patient privilege.
The judge agreed Wednesday to continue the hearing to Aug. 23 to give prosecutors more time to prepare. Prosecutors say they have received 2,500 pages of evidence, plus 52 DVDs and CDs, but are awaiting more information.
Prosecutors want to examine the contents of the package Holmes sent, but defense attorneys say the contents are protected by doctor-patient privilege.
Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 others in the attack at the Century 16 movie theater July 20.
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