Philadelphia Criminal Law News

Witnesses in Tears at James Holmes' Preminary Hearing

The James Holmes case isn't in Pennsylvania, but the legal aspects of the case are definitely worth talking about.

As you probably know, James Holmes is the man who opened gunfire in a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, last summer, killing 12 people. His preliminary hearing has just begun, but it might be a long time before he could be found guilty.

Holmes appeared in court Monday as prosecutors attempted to lay out a case against Holmes so that his case can proceed to trial, reports the Los Angeles Times.

This is the preliminary hearing, in which a judge will weigh the case against the defendant. While many might feel that the case is a simple one, given that Holmes allegedly admitted to the massacre and was caught at the scene, there are many technicalities to this case.

For one, many expect Holmes' defense lawyers to pursue an insanity defense or raise the issue of a mental impairment. At this stage, the big question lies in Holmes' competency to understand the charges against him. If he's unable to do so, that would hamper his ability to go to trial.

For many victims and victims' relatives, justice wouldn't be served if Holmes were to avoid trial. Holmes is facing more than 160 counts of murder and attempted murder.

If Holmes pursues the insanity defense, it could actually stand a chance. In Colorado (unlike Pennsylvania), prosecutors have the burden of proving that the defendant is sane. And that has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case against James Holmes still has a long way to go. As many witnesses broke down in the courtroom during the hearing, Holmes remained emotionless. For many, this will be a long and painful journey.

Related Resources: