Theater shooting judge orders oral arguments over constitutionality of state insanity defense law

James Holmes' defense says law is unconstitutional

AURORA, Colo. - The judge in the trial of Aurora theater shooting defendant James Holmes asked attorneys to prepare for oral arguments over the defense contention that state law regarding the insanity defense is unconstitutional.

The attorneys agreed that they'd present their arguments to the court at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 23.

The defense has officially requested to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty against Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in a July 20 shooting rampage during a midnight showing of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" at the Century 16 Aurora theater.

The defense says the law is unconstitutional because it prevents Holmes from calling any psychiatrist or other expert witness to testify about his mental condition during sentencing if he fails to cooperate with psychiatrists and other personnel conducting a Court-ordered sanity examination.

In an order issued on May 16, Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. told the prosecution and defense to prepare for oral argument on the subject.

Prosecutors have said Colorado laws on insanity and the death penalty are constitutional and don't need any of the explanations requested by the defense.

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