Mass Murder Defense Attorneys Try to Exclude Ballistics Testimony
DENVER (CN) - Attorneys for accused mass murderer James Holmes will argue in court that experts who published reports on ballistics and chemical evidence from the Aurora movie theater massacre should not be allowed to testify in two hearings this week.
Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring dozens more at a midnight premiere of a "Batman" movie on July 20, 2012. He is charged with 166 felony counts, including murder.
Prosecutors indicated they will seek the death penalty.
Holmes and his attorneys will be back in court Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss several motions, including their objection to allowing prosecutors to use chemical experts from the F.B.I. and ballistics and firearms experts from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation as trial witnesses.
The motions to preclude chemical experts and ballistics experts are in separate, but virtually identical motions.
All citations in this article are from the ballistics motion .
The defense claims in the motion that the court needs to make sure the ballistics evidence from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is reliable.
"Mr. Holmes asserts that such scientific, technical and specialized techniques and any opinions derived therefrom, must be determined to be reliable and admissible pursuant to Shreck and CRE 702 and 403 prior to any testimony related to such techniques and resulting opinions being presented to the jury," the motion states. "Admission of unreliable evidence and opinion testimony would not only violate the rules of evidence but also Mr. Holmes' constitutional right to due process of law under the state and federal constitutions. Further, this Court must determine whether any opinions derived from such techniques - if those techniques are determined to be reliable - are actually helpful to the jury under CRE 702 and admissible pursuant to CRE 403. Without such determination, this Court should enter an order precluding the admission of any such expert testimony at trial."
The defense adds that the court should be especially careful because this is a death penalty case.
Judge Carlos Samour also will hear arguments on whether Holmes' new psychiatric evaluator will be allowed to videotape sessions with Holmes before turning in a psychiatric report, and the judge will set a new date for the pretrial readiness hearing.
Last week, Samour set the new trial date for December to give the new psychiatric evaluator time to finish his report.
In compliance with a pretrial publicity order, neither side is available to comment on the case.