CENTENNIAL (KUSA) - The defense team for the man accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 others in an Aurora movie theater July 20 could use mental illness as a possible defense.
Daniel King, the public defender for James Holmes mentioned his client's "mental illness" twice in court Thursday.
"By the remarks made the defense today, it appears as though the defense is setting the stage for this pleading," said 9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson. "The defense only has one card to play and that is the plea of not guilty by reason of insanity."
9NEWS Crime and Justice reporter Anastasiya Bolton was in court Thursday during the 1:30 p.m. proceeding when the public defender Daniel King mentioned Holmes' "mental illness."
King told the court that so far the defense has seen 2,677 pages of discovery and cited law that gives prosecution 20 days from the filing of charges to provide the documents they have in this case.
King said the defense has not seen pictures or interviews related to the case, saying Thursday marks the 10th day since the charges were filed.
"We can't begin to assess the nature and depth of Mr. Holmes' mental illness until we see all the discovery," King said.
During a different portion of the hearing, while talking about the notebook investigators found allegedly sent by Holmes to his psychiatrists, King referred to Dr. Lynne Fenton as a "psychiatrist Holmes turned to for help with his mental illness."
The hearing was actually held to discuss whether the court should release the documents sealed in this case.
The judge said he'll take a couple of days to make the ruling.
Court documents would be released here
In Colorado, this type of legal battle has been seen before.
In 2007, an Arapahoe County judge sealed an indictment in the case of a missing 6-year-old girl whom authorities determined had been dead for at least two years before her father, Aaron Thompson, reported her missing. The state Supreme Court ordered the indictment unsealed in 2008, allowing the public to learn the charges against Thompson. Thompson was convicted of fatal child abuse in 2009.
When Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant faced sexual assault charges in Vail in 2003, it took a media challenge to unseal an affidavit in which police laid out their case for an arrest. Bryant maintained his innocence, and prosecutors dropped the case in 2005.
A news media challenge led to last year's release of an arrest affidavit in a sexual assault case involving former Denver Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox, who faced charges filed by Chambers' office. Cox was acquitted in March.
Defense attorneys and prosecutors routinely ask judges to keep some documents sealed, often because the documents contain information a jury won't hear at trial, said Denver criminal defense attorney Daniel Recht, who also argues First Amendment cases.
But Moore noted that some Colorado judges have sealed entire court dockets under the argument that the mere fact of media coverage will damage a case.
In his ruling to unseal documents in the Cox case, Douglas County District Judge Paul A. King rejected that notion.
"There can be no presumption that everyone in the jury panel will read, follow and find important the media accounts in this case," King wrote.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)