The Coloradoan posts the AP report, "Holmes lawyers again challenge death penalty," by Dan Elliott.
Lawyers for theater shooting suspect James Holmes launched another legal assault on Colorado’s death penalty laws Friday, arguing they don’t set clear standards and that they make it too hard for jurors to weigh mitigating factors.
They also complained that Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos A. Samour is ruling on defense motions too quickly and asked him to allow them to argue their points “fully and fairly.”
Holmes is accused of opening fire in a theater full of people watching a Batman movie in Aurora in July 2012, killing 12 and wounding 70. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple charges of murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
In two motions totaling 32 pages of arguments, defense lawyers argued the death penalty law is unconstitutional and asked Samour to rule out execution for Holmes.In addition to questioning the standards of the laws, the defense said the statutes allow fewer options for defendants to appeal the death penalty if they choose trial by jury than if they choose trial before a judge, without a jury.
"James Holmes' lawyers call Colorado death penalty law unconstitutional," is by John Ingold for the Denver Post, via the Canon City Daily Record.
Lawyers for Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes have filed two motions challenging the constitutionality of Colorado's death penalty laws, in a preview of a densely legal fight to come.
One motion argues that Colorado's system denies defendants whose death sentences are decided by juries the same kind of appellate review that defendants who go to trial before just a judge receive. Another motion says the way juries are instructed to consider and decide death sentences results in arbitrary decisions.
"The meaning of the statute is open to almost instantaneous drastic change, depending on the case involved," Holmes' lawyers argue in the latter motion. "The statute thus violates the cruel and unusual punishment and due process clauses of the United States and Colorado constitutions."
Hearings on death penalty-related issues in the case are scheduled to take place in December, and the motions — filed Friday — hint at how complex those debates will be. Prosecutors have not yet responded to the most recent motions. Holmes' attorneys have until Aug. 30 to file more motions related to the death penalty.
Earlier coverage of James Holmes' case begins at the link.
There is also political news by Holmes prosecutor, the Arapahoe County District Attorney. The Daily Caller posts, "Colorado DA vows to remind voters of Hickenlooper’s ‘weak leadership’," by Greg Campbell.
Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler hasn’t decided whether he will run for governor of Colorado in 2014, but either way he’ll keep reminding voters of incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper’s decision to grant convicted mass murderer Nathan Dunlap an indefinite stay of execution.