Prosecutors respond in Aurora case

March 7, 2013 at 2:55 PM

CENTENNIAL, Colo., March 7 (UPI) -- Colorado's laws on the insanity defense are constitutional, prosecutors said in response to lawyers for accused theater-shooter James Holmes.

In court papers filed Wednesday, prosecutors said the requirement that anyone entering a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity must agree to an independent mental health evaluation does not conflict with the constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination, The Denver Post reported. They also argued that there is no reason to delay Holmes' plea.

Holmes' public defenders raised the constitutional issue last week. They also asked for clarification on the interaction between the law on the insanity defense and Colorado's death penalty law.

Holmes, a former graduate student at the University of Colorado, allegedly killed 12 people and wounded 58 in a shooting rampage at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" at a movie theater in Aurora. He has not yet entered a plea to a long list of charges, including 12 counts of murder.

In their filing, prosecutors said they have not made any announcement yet on the death penalty. They also said it is difficult to proceed until they know what plea Holmes intends to enter.

"Requiring the People to guess at whatever mental condition the defense may be intending to assert to inform the defense of the prospective applicability of the various mental condition statutes is manifestly unfair," prosecutors wrote.

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