ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. -- In front of a packed courtroom, prosecutors called the criminal investigation against James Holmes the most complex in the state’s history.
Joined by Holmes’ defense team, both sides appeared in court to argue against a motion filed by several media organizations to unseal court filings.
Prosecutors say they still have hundreds of witnesses to interview.
“When you are talking to a person that hasn’t been interviewed before, the question becomes are they giving information about what they know or what they learned from the media?” said legal expert Karen Steinhauser.
She says sealing court documents may be essential for a fair trial
“These types of sealings are preserved for exceptional types of situations and this is an exceptional case,” she said.
News organizations including FOX31 Denver hired attorney Steve Zansberg to convince the judge the public has a right to know about filings in such a high profile case.
“The best argument for unsealing them is that the public has a right to inspect the court files in order to monitor the conduct of the judicial branch and the parties have not made their showing necessary to continue the sealing of the file,” Zansberg said.
Courtroom sketches show Holmes sitting silently throughout the hearing as his attorney called him mentally ill three different times.
Holmes’ attorney said the defense needs time and additional discovery to determine “the range and depth” of his client’s mental illness.
Some of the victims, many with visible injuries, came to court to watch the hearing. In an unusual break in proceedings one woman stood up in the middle of the hearing and said she had crucial evidence and that the defense team refused to return her phone calls.
Deputies escorted her from the courtroom.
The judge took the motion under advisement and is expected to issue a ruling next week.