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James Holmes to appeal sanity test order in Aurora theater shootings

Crime, Law and JusticeJustice SystemCourts and the JudiciaryJames HolmesArts and Culture

Defense attorneys for James E. Holmes, charged in the shooting rampage in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater that left 12 dead and dozens wounded, will appeal a court order requiring him to undergo a second evaluation of his sanity.

His lawyers gave notice that they would appeal in a Tuesday court filing in the case before Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. The filing was released Wednesday.

Holmes underwent a mandatory sanity evaluation last year, but Samour ruled that it was inadequate and ordered a second round of testing. Holmes' lawyers objected, saying the order was improper and violated Holmes' rights.

The appeal will be filed within 30 days.

The practical effect of the dispute is to delay a court hearing scheduled for early May. With the start of the second examination at least delayed or possibly dropped, depending on the outcome of the appeal, Samour’s order to complete the second round of psychiatric testing by July 11 probably will also be delayed.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and injuring dozens in the attack on the movie theater showing a Batman film in 2012.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Samour also rejected defense requests, including an argument that the death penalty process was unconstitutional, according to the motions made public  Wednesday. The judge also rejected a defense request that jury selection be video recorded.

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