Judge orders jury selection in Aurora movie theater shooting case will remain open

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - The judge overseeing the Aurora movie theater shooting case has denied requests from the defense and prosecution to keep the jury selection process closed.

Attorneys for defendant James Holmes argued that keeping the process open to the public and the media would affect the fairness of the trial. They argued prospective jurors might be reticent to discuss their personal views in the face of media scrutiny.

During a hearing on May 29, prosecutors agreed that individual voir dire should be closed.

Previous orders have indicated 5,000 potential jurors could be called to participate in the process. They will be required to complete a questionnaire that will not be released to the public.

A coalition of media outlets, including 7NEWS and the Associated Press, filed a response arguing that the jury process should be open.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing 12 people and injuring 70 others by opening fire in a crowded movie theater on July 20, 2012.

District Court Judge Carlos Samour wrote in his order Wednesday that neither party's arguments overcame the court's "presumption of openness."

"Rather than hinder the effectiveness of jury selection, openness and the watchful eye of the media will increase scrutiny and enhance the reliability and fairness of the process," Samour wrote. "In the Court's view, sunshine, not darkness, is the appropriate disinfectant here."

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