Defense: Ban TV camera from theater shooting trial
DENVER (AP) — Attorneys for Colorado theater shooting defendant James Holmes asked the judge to bar television coverage inside the courtroom, saying it would violate Holmes’ right to a fair trial.
In a filing dated Thursday and released Friday, defense lawyers argued that televising the trial could intimidate witnesses, expose jurors and attorneys to death threats, and create other problems.
Six Denver television stations, a Denver radio station and the CourtTV cable channel asked the judge last month to permit a single TV camera and an audio system in the courtroom during the trial, scheduled to start Dec. 8.
Teresa Locke, an attorney for the broadcasters, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment Friday.
Separately, The Denver Post has requested permission to have a still photographer in the courtroom who would provide photos to the Post, The Associated Press and others.
Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the July 2012 attack on more than 400 moviegoers in the Denver suburb of Aurora.
He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple counts of murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Defense lawyers argued that televising the trial would be entertainment, not education, and that it would not improve the public’s impression of the court system.
The courtroom is a workplace, and “the court should take pause before transforming this workplace into a ‘set’ for the entertainment of the public, which will most certainly detract from the solemnity of these proceedings,” the filing said.
They also argued the First Amendment does not guarantee the media the right to televise trials.
Also Friday, Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. rejected another defense request to have the judge review in advance the statements that victims would make at the penalty phase of Holmes’ trial if he is convicted.
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