The judge overseeing the case against James Holmes denies most of the defense's motion on the constitutionality of the state's insanity law
Mass murder suspect James Holmes is one step closer to finally entering plea at his arraignment in a Colorado court early next week.
In court documents released Friday, the judge overseeing the case charging the 25-year-old Holmes with 166 criminal counts denied all but one of the defense's requests regarding claims that Colorado's insanity law is unconstitutional.
In five motions submitted to the court on March 1, the defense argued that the state's insanity laws contain vague statutes that violate Holmes' constitutional rights for a number of reasons, including his right to remain silent, his right against self-incrimination and his right to present a defense.
Judge William Blair Sylvester disagreed with all but one of the defense's assertions, leading him to find that the court "must advise any criminal defendant of the consequences of entering a NGRI [not guilty by reason of insantity] plea before accepting any such plea."
Therefore, he issued a written advisement attached to his order, which reminds the defense that if Holmes enters the plea placing his mental condition at issue, he waives any patient confidentiality privilege with any physician or psychologist with whom he has discussed his illness.
If the defense does decide to pursue that route and Holmes is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he won't face prison time. Instead he'll be placed in the custody of the Department of Human Services. That is, unless the prosecution proves his sanity beyond a reasonable doubt, which could result in either life in prison without parole or the death penalty.
Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding more than 70 others during a shooting spree at an Aurora, Colo., theater showing "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20. His arraignment was initially scheduled for January, but Judge Sylvester granted the defense's request to delay the hearing until March 12.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.