Aurora shooter’s attorneys argue Colorado death penalty unconstitutional

Fort Morgan Times —  Lawyers for Aurora movie theater shooting defendant James Holmes want the judge in the case to declare Colorado’s death-penalty laws unconstitutional.


In multiple motions filed Friday and made public Tuesday, lawyers for Holmes say the state’s death-penalty laws are unconstitutionally arbitrary, that the jury-selection process unfairly skews the jury pool, and that the punishment is sought and used so infrequently in Colorado as to make it cruel and unusual.


“Imposition of the death penalty is rare, unusual, freakish, and inconsistently applied throughout the State of Colorado,” the defense lawyers write in one motion.


Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Holmes, whose lawyers have admitted that he killed 12 people and wounded dozens more in an attack on the Century Aurora 16 movie theater last summer. Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.


A number of the motions are based on the findings of a study by two University of Denver law professors — a study commissioned by the defense team in another murder case — that found that almost all murder cases in Colorado are eligible for the death penalty.



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