Criminal Justice

Judge Reaffirms Gag Order re Colo. Movie Theater Slayings, Has It Served on Law Enforcement Agencies


Updated: Following news reports Wednesday about a package of material that may have been mailed to a psychiatrist by a graduate student subsequently accused of killing 10 people during a Colorado movie theater premiere of the new Batman movie last week, the judge overseeing the murder case has reaffirmed the gag order he issued Monday and ordered that it be served immediately on all law enforcement agencies connected to the case.

The order by Judge William Sylvester says the prosecution, defense team, court personnel and law enforcement agencies are not to release any “extrajudicial” information that could interfere with a fair trial for defendant James Eagan Holmes, reports the Denver Post.

The news articles about the package reportedly sent by Holmes began with an exclusive account by Fox News that said unidentified law enforcement sources told the broadcaster a spiral-bound notebook that included drawings of stick figures shooting other stick figures had been mailed to a University of Colorado psychiatrist.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that the gag order Sylvester issued Monday also banks the University of Colorado from releasing any records concerning Holmes’ status as a graduate student there.

The AP, like other news organizations, has sought the information under the state’s open records law. However, the judge cited an exception in the law that permits otherwise public records to be withheld if “prohibited by rules promulgated by the supreme court or by the order of any court.”

In addition to the 10 people who died at the movie theater, two more shooting victims died elsewhere and dozens more were wounded, some critically.

Additional and related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “4 Guns Found After Colo. Movie Theater Shooting Rampage That Left 12 Dead Were Legally Purchased”

ABAJournal.com: “Colorado Shooting Suspect Appears in Court Looking Dazed”

Reuters: “Accused Colorado gunman sent notebook to psychiatrist-report”

Washington Post: “Reports suggest Colorado suspect tried to warn psychiatrist of deadly plans”

Updated at 3:55 p.m. to include information about University of Colorado records sought by Associated Press.

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