A day after imposing a gag order on the district attorney and defense lawyers, the judge granted a defense request to keep cameras from the courtroom for the defendant's next appearance.
The judge in the Colorado movie theater shooting case on Tuesday granted a defense request that cameras be banned from the courtroom during the defendant’s next appearance Monday, strengthening an information blackout that is descending on the legal process.
Late Monday the judge issued a gag order, limiting what the Aurora police as well as the district attorney and defense lawyers can say about the emotionally wrenching case.
Nonetheless, as the information curtain falls, public interest in the proceedings is rising, especially after suspect James Eagan Holmes’ dramatic televised court appearance Monday, in which he appeared disoriented and disconnected. Legal observers say the death penalty and the insanity defense are sure to be at issue in this high profile case.
Some observers say that prosecutors, without doubt, will seek the death penalty.
“Prosecutors have to go through the exercise of making a determination,” says a former federal prosecutor, Jacob Frenkel, but this is what he calls an intellectual exercise, adding that the outcome is virtually certain.
“The decision not to seek the death penalty would be far more intensely scrutinized and criticized than the more logical and expedient decision to seek it,” he says.
Before the information blackout, Colorado District Attorney Carol Chambers told reporters Monday that the death penalty was a possibility. But Colorado law, like many other states, directs that the decision be made in consultation with the families of victims.