CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes was back in court Monday for a hearing about evidence in the case.
His lawyers are working to get some of the evidence thrown out because they claim it was gathered in violation of his rights.
Prosecutors say there were so many unknown dangers to the public associated with James Holmes explosives-rigged apartment, questions about the theater and the possibility of other conspirators, that
police were justified in asking Holmes more questions even after he had asked for an attorney. It’s called a “public safety exception” to the Miranda rule.
“Once someone requests an attorney and invokes their right to the Fifth Amendment they shouldn’t be interrogated by the police,” says defense attorney Dan Recht.
In fact Holmes had asked for a lawyer three times during seven minutes of questioning by police the night he was arrested.
But his defense attorneys say he sat in jail 13 hours without seeing a lawyer. Even though public defender Daniel King had been trying to get in to see him all afternoon.
The defense claims police ignored those facts, as well as a defense request not to talk to Holmes when they went back to ask the suspect how to dismantle the bombs in his apartment. Police said at the time they had a request from the director of the FBI.
“I suspect the violation of the constitutional rights is so great that the judge will in fact, find there was a constitutional violation,” Recht says.
In June of this year prosecutors discovered a warrant for thousands of pages of Holmes bank records in California had been written improperly by police.
Those records were indirectly linked to weapons, ammunition and equipment used by Holmes in the theater massacre. That warrant had to re-submitted two months ago to get those same records. The defense claims those records should not be admitted as evidence in the trial.