James Holmes' lawyers ask for new trial judge; judge says no

Judge in James Holmes case accused of bias, but denies defense motion for new judge

Lawyers for the man who pleaded guilty by reason of insanity to killing 12 people when he opened fire in a packed movie theater in Aurora, Colo., have accused the judge in the case of being biased due to his "hostile and demeaning" language and asked for a new judge to oversee the case.

The judge, Carlos Samour, denied that request on Friday.

------------
FOR THE RECORD:

James Holmes plea: A national brief that ran in the A section Nov. 16 incorrectly stated that James Holmes, accused of killing 12 people in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting, pleaded guilty by reason of insanity. Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. —
------------

In their request, the attorneys representing James Holmes claimed Samour was unprofessional when denying some of the defense's motions, using words such as "halfhearted" and "lackluster" in his orders, which they said showed bias.

In his ruling denying the request, Samour said he stood by every decision he has made in the case, and said getting to the point does not constitute bias.

"That the undersigned is straightforward and does not mince words in his rulings is not evidence of bias," Samour wrote in his order. "The motion falls on its face because it does not mention, much less compare, the language complained of with similar language used to address arguments raised by the prosecution and non-parties."

The defense can appeal the ruling. 

Holmes faces a possible death penalty for the July 20, 2012, massacre.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin in January.

Follow Ryan Parker for breaking news at @theryanparker and on Facebook

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
52°