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The decision to use it has been very controversial

A Colorado judge will allow prosecutors to interrogate theater gunman James Holmes using truth serum if he pleads not guilty by reason of insanity.

Holmes is the suspected gunman involved in the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado last July. Holmes has been charged with multiple counts of murder for the open shooting, which killed 12 people and injured another 58.

Colorado Judge William Sylvester ruled that prosecutors have the choice to use truth serum on Holmes in a "narcoanalytic interview" to determine whether or not he was legally insane during the July 20 shooting last year. But this is only if Holmes pleads not guilty by reason of insanity.

A plea of not guilty had been entered for Holmes yesterday after his lawyer said that the defendant was not ready to enter his own plea. Holmes can later change it.


Legal experts have questioned Judge Sylvester's ruling, saying that taking away the fifth amendment rights of the defendant because of an authorization to use truth serum drugs will raise a lot of fifth amendment-related issues.

Also, a jury may object to the court forcing truth serum upon the defendant.

Medical experts have weighed in as well, saying that the defendant still has the ability to lie while using truth serum. They also said that truth serum would be effective at determining Holmes' current state of mind, but a short-acting barbiturate like truth serum would not indicate his state of mind during last year's shooting. It will only loosen him up to talk about it.

"First of all, people can still lie under the influence of amytal," said Dr. August Piper, a psychiatrist from Seattle. "More importantly, the person under the influence of the drug is susceptible to outside suggestion. To try and do this would be unlikely to yield useful information, and could pervert the course of justice by rendering the defendant susceptible to pressure."

It's unclear exactly which drug will be used, but experts predict short-acting sodium amytal.

Sources: NPR, CBS News



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RE: Can't accept this
By TSS on 3/13/2013 2:24:54 PM , Rating: 2
Lol at you reclaimer. At this rate the US is doomed indeed.

How is the insanity defence in this case unacceptable? Are you willing to argue this person, who killed 12 and wounded so much more in an attempt "just to kill more then brevik", can be sane in any shape manner or form?

And how is putting this guy down any justice to the victems hmm? He doesn't feel sorry because he doesn't know how to. Ending his life ends all possibility for him to ever be able to redeem himself so he might feel the guilt for what he has done. It never happening again is achieved by a life sentance as well as a death sentance so what's the difference?

And if he's really insane beyond repair, well then, is life or death the bigger punishment?

Indeed, you do need serious reform but it should be based on cold hard logic and reason, specifically NOT the emotions of the victems. Because their lifes have been affected by crazy, they're not thinking straight either.

What you will get now is people feeding off this kind of anger to remove all possible rights until it's too late. Now it's a mass murderer. Then it's a murderer. Then it's a rapist, then it's assault. Pretty soon you'll be shooting up that guy who smoked a sticky just to find out where he got it from. Why not? You're already perfectly willing to put those people in jail and ruin their entire life. The incarceration rate in the US is skyhigh (pun intended) because of it.

And hey, when you're already using truth serums might as well give them sedatives. He is a crazy mass murderer after all, better make sure he can't do anything including defending himself. That goes for those agressive prisoners too. Scumbags like him surely don't deserve a lawyer either, you said it yourself there's no question he did it. Hell why are we even bothering with a trail, we should've just sent a drone strike on the theatre while he was shooting!

The US JUSTICE system isn't called the US Revenge system. Justice isn't revenge. Justice is doing right by all. If you take away the ability for the perp to do right by the victems, there can never be justice.


RE: Can't accept this
By Reclaimer77 on 3/13/2013 3:03:30 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
How is the insanity defence in this case unacceptable? Are you willing to argue this person, who killed 12 and wounded so much more in an attempt "just to kill more then brevik", can be sane in any shape manner or form?


The "insanity" plea is nothing but a ploy now to get a reduced sentence. He planned this crime for weeks. He carried it out. It was entirely premeditated an deliberate. This isn't someone who just went "insane" and isn't responsible for his actions. Nice try.

quote:
And how is putting this guy down any justice to the victems hmm? He doesn't feel sorry because he doesn't know how to.


I think I'm going to do us both a favor and end this now. I'm clearly talking to an idiot with no concept of right or wrong.

quote:
And hey, when you're already using truth serums might as well give them sedatives. He is a crazy mass murderer after all, better make sure he can't do anything including defending himself. That goes for those agressive prisoners too. Scumbags like him surely don't deserve a lawyer either, you said it yourself there's no question he did it. Hell why are we even bothering with a trail, we should've just sent a drone strike on the theatre while he was shooting!


Nice grandstanding. Hyperbole and melodrama all in one...


RE: Can't accept this
By mindless1 on 3/13/2013 3:25:08 PM , Rating: 2
Yes he had been planning this. It's a sign he wasn't suffering from temporary insanity at the time of the slaughter but rather, insanity for a period of time before it too.

I have no problem with a temporary insanity defense if a permanent insanity plea isn't possible, because it seems to match the crime. The problem I have is the differentiation in punishment, that I don't feel it is any less just to kill an insane person than a sane one.

I'd rather we didn't have capital punishment at all, rather that people guilty by reason of insanity are allowed to visit an in-house shrink once in a while during their normal stay in prison.

At the same time we need a competent shrink in there studying the guy so we can learn more about what makes him tick with the hope this information can be useful in the future.


RE: Can't accept this
By Reclaimer77 on 3/13/2013 3:35:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'd rather we didn't have capital punishment at all


We practically don't already. How many people were executed last year again?

quote:
It's a sign he wasn't suffering from temporary insanity at the time of the slaughter but rather, insanity for a period of time before it too.


That's your opinion. I don't think you're even qualified to make such an assessment anyway.

quote:
At the same time we need a competent shrink in there studying the guy so we can learn more about what makes him tick with the hope this information can be useful in the future.


That's the dumbest thing I've heard today. If he's "insane", then we won't learn any more from studying him than the thousands of other "insane" people available to study. And we certainly won't make any inroads into mental health.

Look it's this simple: When you plan on taking the lives of dozens, even hundreds of people, and carry that plan out you should be executed for it.


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