James Holmes may not be able to plead insanity in a case where he is accused of killing 12 people in a shooting this summer at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.
Lawyers representing Holmes had made an effort to challenge the constitutionality of the state’s laws for insanity pleas, saying that it placed undue burden on defendants.
The law requires a defendant who pleads not guilty be reason of insanity to cooperate with an independent psychiatric evaluation. Under the law as it stands, Holmes would have to share some journals with prosecutors that could implicate him in the shooting. If he were to seek a normal defense Holmes would not have to share the writings.
Lawyers for Holmes said that would have violated his right against self-incrimination.
“In order to effectively represent Mr. Holmes, counsel must be able to accurately assess the consequences of a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity,” his attorneys wrote in the motion.
On Friday a judge ruled that Colorado’s insanity defense law is constitutional, leaving the legal team for James Holmes just days to make a plea. His arraignment is planned for Tuesday, and after that prosecutors have close to two months to determine if they will seek the death penalty against Holmes.
Though a judge made a ruling in James Holmes’ attempt to challenge the insanity defense law, there are still unresolved issues regarding the case. There is still uncertainty on how the insanity defense will be applied in a death penalty case.
James Holmes faces 166 counts of murder, attempted murder, and other crimes for the July 20 shooting at a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. The shooing left 12 people dead and 58 wounded by gunfire.
Attorneys for James Holmes said an insanity plea remains an option, but they haven’t decided on a defense yet.