The judge overseeing the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting case has agreed to hold a hearing over defense claims that the government has twice violated a gag order.
In the first motion filed Tuesday, public defenders for James Holmes argue that an updated mugshot of Holmes-without the disheveled orange hair he appeared with the day he was arrested-was improperly leaked to the media by the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department. It was released on September 20, the same day Holmes had gotten the new haircut.
During a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” prosecutors say a heavily-armed Holmes entered the Century 16 movie theater and opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding 58. The motion, filed by public defenders Daniel King, Tamara Brady and Kristen Nelson- claims that the release of the photograph has “implicated Mr. Holmes’ constitutional rights to a fair trial, to a fair and impartial jury and due process.”
In another motion, the defense team requested a hearing regarding media leaks about a package containing a notebook Holmes mailed to Dr. Lynne Fenton, a University of Colorado psychiatrist. The notebook was seized by police from a University of Colorado mailroom on July 23. News reports citing unnamed law enforcement sources said the notebook contains writings and drawings about the movie theater attack.
An inspector with the U.S. Postal Service testified the package was mailed the day before the July 20 attack. Holmes’ legal team wants the judge to level sanctions after they say they reviewed case documents that show “the government was responsible for leaking information about the contents of the package to the media.”
The judge will take up both matters at a hearing set for October 11 at 9 a.m.
Holmes’ attorneys have said in court that they believe their client is mentally ill, although he has yet to enter a plea.