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Public, Media Banned From James Holmes Pretrial Hearing

Accused Aurora shooter James Holmes is set to return to court for a pretrial hearing, but the judge has barred the public and media from it.
Posted at 8:00 AM, Dec 21, 2013

Accused Colorado movie theater gunman James Holmes is set to return to court in late January for a pretrial hearing — but the judge has barred the public, the media and even the victims from attending.

The hearing will reportedly include pretrial testimony from a psychiatrist who determined whether James Holmes was insane.  (Via WTVT)

Police say he was responsible for killing 12 people and wounding dozens more at a midnight screening of the "The Dark Knight Rises" in July 2012. (Via BBC)

But the judge says that testimony from the psychiatrist and other witnesses about Holmes' mental health could "infect a large portion of the jury pool with factual information" and make it hard for him to get a fair trial. (Via The Denver Post)

In other words, the judge says Holmes' right to a fair trial could be "prejudiced" if that information was made readily available, so he closed the hearing off to the public.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. (Via KUSA)

His lawyers say they know he was the gunman, but he was having a psychotic episode when the shooting occurred. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty. (Via NBC)

The other issue to be argued at the hearing is whether the prosecution will be allowed to have Holmes' mental health evaluated by doctors of its choosing, rather than going off only the defense's examination. (Via WBZ-TV)

While the pretrial date has been set, Holmes' actual trial has been postponed. It was originally scheduled for February, but proceedings can't begin until the judge decides on the prosecution's request to examine him with their own experts.