"Lawyers for James Holmes seek to throw out the death penalty," is the Denver Post report by John Ingold. Here's an extended excerpt from the beginning:
Lawyers for Aurora movie theater shooting defendant James Holmes want the judge in the case to declare Colorado's death-penalty laws unconstitutional.
In multiple motions filed Friday and made public Tuesday, lawyers for Holmes say the state's death-penalty laws are unconstitutionally arbitrary, that the jury-selection process unfairly skews the jury pool, and that the punishment is sought and used so infrequently in Colorado as to make it cruel and unusual.
"Imposition of the death penalty is rare, unusual, freakish, and inconsistently applied throughout the State of Colorado," the defense lawyers write in one motion.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Holmes, whose lawyers have admitted that he killed 12 people and wounded dozens more in an attack on the Century Aurora 16 movie theater last summer. Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
A number of the motions are based on the findings of a study by two University of Denver law professors — a study commissioned by the defense team in another murder case — that found that almost all murder cases in Colorado are eligible for the death penalty.
According to the study, 92 percent of the 544 first-degree murder cases in Colorado between 1999 and 2010 were eligible for the death penalty. But prosecutors pursued the death penalty at trial in only five of those cases, according to the study. Based on those findings, Holmes' lawyers argue in the motions that Colorado's laws don't limit the use of the death penalty enough to comply with U.S. Supreme Court rulings.
They also argue that, when the death penalty is used, it is applied inconsistently. The only district attorney's office to take death penalty cases to trial in the past decade is the 18th Judicial District attorney's office, the same one prosecuting Holmes.
AP coverage is, "Holmes' lawyers broaden challenge to death penalty," by Dan Elliott, via the San Francisco Chronicle.
Battling to save their client's life, lawyers for theater shooting defendant James Holmes broadened their attack on the death penalty, saying in motions released Tuesday that the sentence is so unevenly imposed in Colorado and so rarely carried out that it is unconstitutional.
The lawyers also argued that death penalty opponents should be allowed to serve on Holmes' jury, and that victims of the shooting shouldn't be permitted to testify when the jury is deciding punishment.
Separately, the judge on Tuesday delayed a possible showdown hearing for a Fox News reporter over whether she has to reveal her confidential sources for a story about Holmes. The delay gives the reporter time to hear whether a court in her home state of New York will reject a Colorado subpoena seeking the names.
"Attorneys for Movie Massacre Suspect Challenge Colorado's Death Penalty Laws," is by Sam Reynolds for Courthouse News Service.
In a second motion , the defense claims that Colorado's punishment for capital murder is cruel and unusual as defined by state and federal law.
"In measuring and assessing contemporary standards of decency, one important consideration is whether there is a decline in the use of a practice," the second motion states. "Throughout the country and in Colorado, the death penalty is in steep and consistent decline.
"Across the country, states are abandoning the death penalty. In 2004, the courts declared the death penalty to be unconstitutional in New York. In 2007, New Jersey repealed its death penalty law, with New Mexico following suit in 2009, Illinois in 2011, Connecticut in 2012, and Maryland in 2013. In several other states, there has been a de facto moratorium on executions for many years. In 2013, a majority of Nebraska lawmakers voted to repeal the death penalty, but the bill died because of a filibuster by opponents.
"Even the very architects of the modern capital scheme have given up. In 2010, the American Law Institute withdrew its support for the model capital sentencing stature it had drafted, citing 'intractable institutional and structural obstacles to ensuring a minimally adequate system for administering capital punishment.'"
Death sentences have declined by 56 percent nationwide since 1999. Colorado has executed just one inmate since 1967, the second motion states.
The Denver Post also reports, "Fox News reporter wins delay in crucial theater shooting hearing," also by John Ingold.
A Fox News reporter facing possible jail time in a dispute over a story she wrote about the Aurora theater shooting has been granted a delay in a crucial hearing.
Jana Winter, who is based in New York, had been scheduled to return to court Sept. 30 for a hearing. Now, she is scheduled to return on that date only so that her subpoena can again be postponed — this time to Jan. 3.
The hearing could decide whether Winter will be ordered to testify about her sources for a story she wrote about the case.
Earlier coverage of James Holmes' case begins at the link.