It has been almost a year since the tragic Colorado movie theater shooting, and Judge Carlos Samour Jr. finally accepted James Holmes’ not guilty plea by reason of insanity.
“I find Mr. Holmes understands the effects and consequences of the not guilty by reason of insanity plea,” he said. “He was looking at the advisement and appeared to be following along.”
The alleged suspect’s lawyers waited such a long time to enter his insanity plea because they believed the laws were unconstitutional. They argued that Colorado’s laws on insanity could cause Holmes to self-incriminate himself.
Under these laws, defendants who plead not guilty by reason of insanity must cooperate in a psychiatric evaluation. If they don’t follow the rules, they are not allowed to have mental health experts testify on their behalf at trial.
Holmes’ lawyers said the law hurts him because if he doesn’t cooperate properly, it could be used against him in court. But Samour ruled that the law requiring cooperation is needed. Without cooperation, “it is difficult to imagine a rational and equitable administration of the death penalty in Colorado in a case involving an insanity plea,” he wrote.
If Holmes is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he would be committed to a mental hospital. The trial will likely not start until at least February, so there is still plenty of time to evaluate Holmes’ mental state. If doctors ever determine that he is mentally stable again, he may eventually be released.
The 25-year-old’s defense team also indicated that day that they plan to request a venue change so that Holmes can get a fair trial. If the defense can convince the judge that holding Holmes’ trial in Arapahoe County will be extremely difficult, he may consider moving the trial to a different county.
Do you agree with the judge’s decision’s on the insanity plea?
[Image via Yahoo! News]