- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Attorneys for James Holmes, the alleged gunman in last year’s Colorado theater shooting, are considering whether the law allows them to void their client’s wishes and enter an insanity plea on his behalf.

There is “significant uncertainty and confusion” in Colorado law about insanity defenses for capital punishment cases, attorneys said in a Reuters report. The big question: How can a mentally ill patient realistically decide a plea of insanity?

“That is one reason why Colorado’s insanity statute provides a mechanism for entering [an insanity plea] over the objections of a defendant in some circumstances,” defense attorneys said, as Reuters reported.

Mr. Holmes, 25, faces multiple first-degree murder and attempted murder charges stemming from a July shooting at the midnight showing of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo. Twelve were killed and 70 injured.

Prosecutors announced they would seek the death penalty if Mr. Holmes is found guilty. The judge has entered a not guilty plea for Mr. Holmes, but Reuters reported that his attorneys could change that to “guilty by reason of insanity” with sufficient evidence.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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