Prosecutors ask for Holmes' mental health records

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Associated Press

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 6:34 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 30 at 3:01 PM

DENVER (AP) — Prosecutors in the Colorado theater shooting case said Thursday they want the mental health records of defendant James Holmes from the state hospital and from a university where Holmes was a graduate student.

In a court filing, prosecutors said they plan to submit subpoenas for the records and asked the judge to set Sept. 30 — the next hearing date in the case — as the day the records must be turned over.

Prosecutors said they are entitled to the records because Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.

Under state law, defendants who plead insanity must provide medical and mental health records to prosecutors.

Holmes is accused of fatally shooting 12 people and injuring 70 in a suburban Denver movie theater in July 2012. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Before the shootings, Holmes saw a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado, Denver, where he was a graduate student in neuroscience. Prosecutors want the records of that treatment.

After he entered the insanity plea, Holmes was ordered to undergo a mandatory sanity evaluation by the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo. A report on the evaluation is due to the court by Sept. 16, and the subpoena appears to be a way to set a date for the report to be turned over to prosecutors.

The filing did not say whether prosecutors will also ask to see a notebook that Holmes sent the university psychiatrist before the shootings.

Fox News reporter Jana Winter cited unidentified law enforcement officers as saying the notebook contained violent drawings. That story embroiled Winter in a battle with Holmes' lawyers over the identities of her sources.

Defense lawyers say the officials who spoke to Winter violated a gag order and should be punished. The defense also says officers may have lied when they denied being Winter's sources, undermining their credibility as trial witnesses.

Defense lawyers haven't been able to learn the identities of the officials, so they want the judge to order Winter to disclose them.

The judge hasn't said whether he would do so.

Winter could face jail time if she refuses an order to reveal the names. She has said she won't disclose them.

Winter has asked to delay her appearance at the Sept. 30 hearing until after an appeals court in her home state of New York rules on her request to reject a Colorado subpoena seeking the names.

Colorado needs the approval of New York courts to enforce the subpoena.

Prosecutors and the defense objected to the delay Thursday. Prosecutors said delaying the hearing could ultimately postpone the trial, now scheduled to begin in February.

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Follow Dan Elliott at http://twitter.com/DanElliottAP .

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