A preliminary hearing begins today in Aurora, CO to determine whether James Holmes should stand trial. With a list of 70 witnesses, the prosecution gives a preview of the case. Lisa Wayne is a Criminal defense attorney and former public defender that trained the two lawyers defending him. She stopped by the break down the insanity plea.
The preliminary hearing gives the lawyers an opportunity to describe Holmes’ condition before, during, and after the shooting. Eyewitness accounts have depicted him as looking blank and not really aiming at anyone. Since he sought out psychiatric help prior to the shooting, she says, “It appears here- this isn’t something that was made up, that this is guy who was sick before it happened, makes the insanity defense credible.”
As for what she thinks will happen, Wayne says, “I’m like everybody, I don’t have the inside scoop on this. But, if you look at the presentation of him in the courtroom, which I think will be consistent throughout this week, if you look at the evidence of this case, I mean, here’s a guy that didn’t have any motive to go inside a theatre and shoot people. I think that you will finally see the defense scrutinizing the evidence in this case and showing another side of people that will support that he was deranged and out of his mind.”
Whether or not Holmes gets the insanity defense, the legal system will punish him for the crime or get him the help he needs to prevent him from causing harm to others and/or himself. Wayne explains, “The beauty of the system is we don’t punish people in the same way. The American people know if you are found not guilty by reason of insanity, it doesn’t mean I don’t’ take responsibility. It means I can’t take responsibility and they are going to throw away the key and lock him up either way in a mental institute or a prison. “