WASHINGTON, February 3, 2014 – In 2012, James Holmes attacked patrons at a movie theater in Aurora Colorado and killed twelve people. Since then, his case, which has faded from the news and from public view, has been proceeding through the legal system. Holmes has court appointed attorneys, and the State of Colorado has announced it will seek the death penalty against him.
The Holmes trial has taken a trip into the realm of the offensive and oppressive. Someone leaked information to Fox News Reporter Jana Winter about a notebook sent by Holmes to his psychiatrist containing violent images. The source is confidential and Winter has refused to disclose it. Attorneys for Holmes tried to compel Winter to disclose the source in New York State court, presumably with New York lawyers being paid by the taxpayers of Colorado.
The New York State Superior Court refused to order Winter to disclose the sources, saying she was protected by New York’s shield statute. That’s not good enough for Holmes’ court appointed attorney, so they are now going to the United States Supreme Court to try and force Winter to disclose her sources. Why this taxpayer funded expense when there is no question as to his guilt?
Because James Holmes has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. In a criminal case, when a defendant enters a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, the defendant admits all of the facts of the crime. Because of Holmes’ plea, there is no longer an issue as to whether he murdered twelve people in Aurora. While the state still has to prove those facts, the real issue, and the only issue, is whether Holmes was insane the night he committed the crime. Found not guilty by reason of insanity would remove the death penalty as a punishment for his crime.
Because of statutes like the 1996 Anti-terrorism and effective death penalty act, federal funds flow in and judges are trained to give defense lawyers an open checkbook anytime the state seeks the death penalty, as Colorado has done. The Supreme Court has said that anyone who is accused of a crime is entitled to effective representation of counsel, and if the defendant cannot afford representation of counsel it will be provided to him/her.
James Holmes has a staff of lawyers and others who are paid by the taxpayers.
It is one thing to allow proper funding so that someone who faces the death penalty is allowed a proper defense. It is another for that team to be given the funds to go off on a wild goose chase that has no bearing on whether Holmes committed the crime.
Holmes should have good lawyers to force the State of Colorado to prove its case. He should also have the funding for good mental health experts who can present evidence to the jury of his mental state at the time he killed those people in the theatre.
At question here is whether in their quest to abolish the death penalty, the left is going to do everything in its power to make the death penalty as expensive as possible. They can then argue it is too expensive for this nation.
The reason the death penalty is so expensive is not because of the need for quality representation of defendants facing the ultimate sanction. It is because of frivolous spending by legal teams that must be stopped.