Aurora movie theater case: Prosecutors accuse psychiatrist of bias in James Holmes evaluation

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. - Prosecutors in the deadly Aurora movie theater shooting believe the psychiatrist who examined suspect James Holmes had an "unfair bias" and that the examination was "inadequate and unfair," according to an order filed in the case.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 and injuring 70 in the July 20, 2012 shooting. As a result, he was evaluated at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo.

The findings of the first evaluation haven't been publicly disclosed, other than that the psychiatrist found Holmes competent to stand trial. However, longtime Denver defense attorney Dan Recht said it's highly unlikely prosecutors would ask for another evaluation if the first one found Holmes was sane.

Additionally, the defense filed a motion on Nov. 8 that hinted at the findings of the first evaluation. Their request was not made public, but the title of the motion was, "Motion to strike the death penalty because the state and federal constitutions prohibit the execution of individuals such as Mr. Holmes who suffer from a chronic and serious mental illness."

The first mental evaluation is believed to have included testing, interviews, and/or assessments by a psychologist and neuropsychologist.

In court in November, prosecutors said they wanted two experts who have been following the case to meet with Holmes at the Arapahoe County Jail. They want to talk with him over the course of a couple days to make their own evaluation.

In the latest motion from the court, regarding that hearing, prosecutors said the initial examination of Holmes was "inadequate and unfair."

Prosecutors contend that at least one aspect of the examination was unfair, "Because Dr. [Jeffrey] Metzner had an 'unfair bias.'"

"The prosecution further maintains that the examination is inadequate because its experts 'found numerous deficiencies' in Dr. Metzner's report," the document said.

The judge's court order does not go into further detail, but does say the defendant takes "issue with the prosecution's allegation of bias."

The judge has scheduled a three-day hearing starting Jan. 27 to determine whether the prosecution's experts should be allowed to meet with Holmes.

That hearing forced the judge to delay the start of Holmes' trial. It was scheduled for February.

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