Gag order in James Holmes case will remain in place, judge decides

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - The gag order limiting what police, paramedics and lawyers can say about the Aurora theater shooting will remain in effect, Judge William Sylvester in an order  made public Tuesday.

In the order issued Monday, Judge Sylvester recounted that the City of Aurora had requested the motion to limit pre-trial publicity be lifted.  Based on that order, the city has denied requests to speak to the media, schools, individuals and other law enforcement agencies.

According to the order, Aurora officials asked for the gag order to be lifted based on the fact that a significant portion of the case was revealed to the public during the preliminary/proof evident hearing in January. The city wanted permission to speak publicly about its response and to release recordings of the two 911 calls played in court during the preliminary hearing.

At the conclusion of that preliminary hearing in January, the judge decided James Holmes should go to trial for 166 counts, including multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder.

The defense objected to the request to lift the gag order on the grounds that the city does not have "a legally cognizable interest in this case" and that the Aurora's request didn't explicitly identify the information they wish to share.

"It is defendant's position that there is a high likelihood that release of some information related to this case would jeopardize his right to a fair trial by an impartial jury," the document says.

In deciding to deny Aurora's request, Judge Sylvester wrote that he recognizes the city's difficult position and commended the city's "prudence and caution" in complying with the gag order.