Judge reprimands theater shooting DA for Tweeting during court

Aurora Theater Shooting

The judge reprimanded DA George Brauchler Friday for tweeting during court.

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- In a decision before court began Friday, the judge on the theater shooting trial ruled to prohibit attorneys from texting and tweeting during court.

The decision came after defense attorney Tamara Brady brought up a Tweet from George Brauchler, the Arapahoe County District Attorney, sent during court proceedings Thursday.

At the time, defense attorney Daniel King was in the middle of cross-examining Dr. William Reid, the court-appointed psychiatrist who conducted a mental health evaluation of James Holmes and diagnosed him with Schizotypal Personality Disorder.

"If the prosecution is seeking the execution of a man, perhaps the District Attorney should pay attention to the cross-examination of a mental health expert instead of chatting on social media," said Brady.

Tweeting during court is prohibited by media and attorneys.

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Brauchler's Tweet, posted at at 4:51 p.m. Thursday, read: "I agree on the video. I hope the jury thinks so too."

Brauchler is active on his Twitter and regularly uses it to share information from the DA's office or to express his views on politics. Since the theater shooting trial began, he has been Tweeting less frequently, usually only in the evenings.

Brauchler stood up and apologized to the defense and to the court Friday morning. He said he had thought the Tweet was a text and that he had deleted it within 20 minutes of its posting after realizing his mistake.

"It’s an embarrassing mistake, but it’s one I think I corrected quickly," Brauchler said. "And I would not make it again."

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Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos Samour acknowledged Brauchler's apology but reiterated the importance of paying attention to court proceedings.

"Nothing can't wait until a break or after court to be Tweeted," said Samour. "If you're bored and don't want to pay attention, then you're welcome to leave. I don't need five attorneys on each side."

He also said that from now on, attorneys are prohibited from both texting or Tweeting, barring communication with witnesses whose only form of communication is texting.

The defense's cross-examination of Dr. Reid continues Friday.

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