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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: Or...
By M'n'M on 3/13/2013 4:20:08 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think anyone is defending the actions. What makes you say that ? It's why he did what he did that's in question. Was Dahmer nuts or not ? How would you square keeping parts of people you killed in your 'fridge ? Perhaps nibbling on some from day to day. If Berkowitz was really truthful when he said he killed people because the dog commanded him to, was he insane ? That crazy people are so detached from reality doesn't automatically mean they can't function in the real world, at least well enough to go about killing other people. People are strange animals, I don't pretend to be able read the minds, or know the intent, of the strangest.

Whether this guy is insane or not, I can't say. I have to question the judge's grasp on reality if he thinks "truth serum" will elicit the truth. I think he's been watching too many Cold War spy movies.

As for right and wrong ... even you can't believe the world is that simple. I think we can all agree murder is wrong. If I go out and shoot my neighbor while he's having his morning coffee ... that's wrong. If I do that same thing but it's after he's raped my daughter, it's still wrong but it's not quite the same is it ? Motive matters when it comes to the punishment.


RE: Or...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/13/2013 5:04:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's why he did what he did that's in question.


Who cares? The blood on his hands is equal either way. The people are still dead, no matter what the reason.

I'm sorry but I just don't buy into this whole "insane equals not-culpable" attitude that sleazy defense lawyers have cultivated over the years.

It's just amazing to me that people find it easier to feel sorry for the poor "insane" mass murderer than the victims or their families. Every day this man lives is a travesty of justice.


RE: Or...
By Florinator on 3/13/2013 5:13:23 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I'm sorry but I just don't buy into this whole "insane equals not-culpable" attitude


Well, I'm glad you're not in charge of our legal system then. By the way, the "insane equals not culpable" defense dates back to the Code of Hammurabi, but expecting you to be as reasonable as "primitive" people from 4,000 years ago seems to be a bit too much...


RE: Or...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/13/13, Rating: -1
RE: Or...
By Florinator on 3/13/2013 11:44:03 PM , Rating: 2
You're just a conservative retard that can't even have a civilized debate. I never argued that the guy was insane, quite the contrary, if you actually READ my posts. So I have no idea what the fuck you are talking about.


RE: Or...
By Florinator on 3/13/2013 5:19:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's just amazing to me that people find it easier to feel sorry for the poor "insane" mass murderer than the victims or their families.


Again, you're debating beyond the point, nobody is sorry for him, on the contrary, I hope he gets what he deserves and I hope they don't find him insane, so he can rot in jail or be executed, for what I care.

But that doesn't negate the merits of this legal principle, despite the fact that some lawyers may be abusing it...


RE: Or...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/13/2013 5:34:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Again, you're debating beyond the point


No I'm not. You just don't like it because I'm reminding you that this is real, not some theoretical debate.

And they call me a heartless bastard!? I'm glad you can separate this discussion from the carnage this man left behind, but right now I can't.

quote:
But that doesn't negate the merits of this legal principle, despite the fact that some lawyers may be abusing it...


Well I'm not sure where that leaves this conversation. Because obviously in this case, it's being abused. And I would support this legal principle being more...modernized shall we say, for future cases.


RE: Or...
By bsd228 on 3/14/2013 6:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
> And they call me a heartless bastard!? I'm glad you can separate this discussion from the carnage this man left behind, but right now I can't.

This is why we have a legal system - because people in general, and like you, cannot separate their emotions from reason. Mob justice is what would result if those people are the ones making the decision.

You're under the false idea that insane people cannot engage in complex thinking or planning. They can, and this entire situation points to a guy not operating with a full deck. This wasn't politically driven, like the Norway slaughter.

To be clear, even if his client was fully sane, I'd expect his defense to mount the insanity plea because otherwise he's certainly getting the death penalty.


RE: Or...
By M'n'M on 3/13/2013 6:40:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
quote:
It's why he did what he did that's in question.
Who cares? The blood on his hands is equal either way. The people are still dead, no matter what the reason.

I could use the same "logic" and say the same thing about an elderly who loses control of their car and mows down a crowd (because that never happens). People are dead, off with his/her head ? Or just perhaps the motive (or lack of one) makes a difference.
quote:
The majority of these people are obviously NOT too insane to be punished. How stupid are you to believe that?
While the above wasn't aimed at me, are you saying there are some actual insane criminals ? If so, how is this guy, perhaps, not one of them ? Your equivalence that planning = sanity doesn't make any sense. Mental deficiency comes in various degrees. Like Son of Sam claimed, this guy might really believe the Devil made him do it. Whether that's true or not, is a question for the jury to decide.

Again I don't give a crap about this guy. But I do care about this thing called justice. Then again perhaps justice for you means executing Grandma for her senility should she have a car "accident" and people die as a result.


RE: Or...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/13/2013 7:30:58 PM , Rating: 2
You're comparing accidents to willful mass murder. I'm just stunned that you feel those analogies are appropriate and on-topic.

This wasn't an accident, or a crime of passion.

quote:
If so, how is this guy, perhaps, not one of them ?


Do we care if he is? I certainly don't. Insane or not, he clearly and premeditated set out to kill as many people as he could. What about this aren't you getting?



RE: Or...
By M'n'M on 3/13/2013 10:26:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Do we care if he is? I certainly don't. Insane or not, he clearly and premeditated set out to kill as many people as he could. What about this aren't you getting?


Because IF he's actually insane, it's not a willful act. That's the point you don't seem to be able to grasp. The word intent is an important part of the legal concept of criminal intent.

Grandma, who is senile, gets in her car and, because she's lost contact with the real world, plows into a school bus and kills 23 kids onboard. She did the deed but there's no criminal intent. Yes or no ? Execute her or not ? Aren't the kids just as dead ? That was your apparent argument (yes I know there was more to it). Or is there something more than body count that plays into the decision to execute or not ?

You go to the local bar and get blasted. You drive the car home and plow into the school bus, killing 23 kids. Criminal intent ? Certainly there wasn't any intent to hit the bus. Accident ? Nope, any reasonable person knows getting blasted and driving may lead to what happened. The intent happened not at the "accident" but when the drinking went over the limit. You're guilty, off with your head.

Now this guy, and I've not heard his "reason", might say the Devil made him do it. That the barking labrador next door commanded him to kill and he has no will to resist the word of God. Sounds nuts ... because it is. He's insane ! Does a person who truly believes the aforementioned have the capability to form criminal intent ?

I'm stunned you can't see the argument being made. Motive, intent ... matters. Whether this guy is insane has yet to be proven. Whether it's a ploy has yet to be exposed.


RE: Or...
By M'n'M on 3/13/2013 10:39:45 PM , Rating: 2
Let me put one more hypothetical case out there for your consideration and then, perhaps, you'll see the argument being made.

Grandma is senile. All she talks of and thinks of is the good ole days when she was a young woman at the girls boarding school. They all sat around the camp fire and sang songs and toasted marshmallows.

Alas Grandma is out of touch with reality and sets fire to any house she thinks will burn so she can once again "see the camp fire". She gets out one day and does this to a school nearby and kills 23 kids. Arson is a crime. Murder is a crime. 23 kids are dead. Their parents want blood. Time to execute Grandma ?

I'll go one better. Grandma has a history of setting fires prior to the big one that got her caught (and BBQ'ed the kiddies). "We" can't let her roam about because if she can, she will set another fire. There's no curing her. Imprison her or execute her ? What's your choice ?


RE: Or...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/13/2013 11:02:25 PM , Rating: 2
Nice trap you've constructed using the sympathetic grandma. If I stand my ground I'm a heartless bastard. If I give in, I'm a hypocrite.

Sorry but this guy didn't have dementia to the point that he thought a house was a campfire or whatever. Come on this is ridiculous! The guy planned this with almost military-like precision, while ALSO leading a normal life. How can that be the actions of a clinically "insane" person?


RE: Or...
By MadMan007 on 3/14/2013 3:01:37 AM , Rating: 2
Ya, no one who plans things with military precision was ever considered insane.


RE: Or...
By M'n'M on 3/14/2013 5:05:47 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Nice trap you've constructed using the sympathetic grandma. If I stand my ground I'm a heartless bastard. If I give in, I'm a hypocrite.

Then be the heartless bastard you want to be. I have no problem with that. I am a heartless bastard. I admit that right up front. If Grandma was just a mean old bitch instead of being senile, who enjoyed seeing people suffer (Grandma Dearest ?) I'd have no problem sticking her with the needle. But that wasn't the point being made.

quote:
Sorry but this guy didn't have dementia to the point that he thought a house was a campfire or whatever. Come on this is ridiculous! The guy planned this with almost military-like precision, while ALSO leading a normal life. How can that be the actions of a clinically "insane" person?
You may end up being correct. This guy's sanity has yet to be determined. The point being is that there are insane people and they do "insane" things. Does Lanza's shoot 'em up in CT strike you as the work of someone who's in touch with reality ? I'm satisfied to wait for the arguments to be made (in both cases) and will withhold judgement until then.

You can feel good in that the insanity defense rarely works. Dahmer, whom I'm convinced had more than just a few screws loose (and a lifetime of more than bizarre actions to prove it) used that defense. The jury didn't buy it.


RE: Or...
By Ramstark on 3/14/2013 1:17:05 PM , Rating: 2
Because, you know, some people just want o see the world in flames...

That's what you don't get Reclaimer, and never will if you stay as close minded as your are. This guy deserves to die, but FOR THE RIGHT REASONS not just "he's insane, hang him now!"

There are some people out there who are perfectly sane, but their minds are so closed and their convictions so strong, that they would defend them to whatever cost, never minding to analyse if their views are correct. Sounds familiar to you?


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