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Theater shooting lawyers return to court to discuss videotaping Holmes' 2nd sanity evaluation

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CENTENNIAL, Colorado — Attorneys in the Colorado theater shooting case are returning to court to discuss whether a doctor should be allowed to videotape the second sanity evaluation of defendant James Holmes.

At a two-day hearing beginning Tuesday, prosecutors and the defense are also scheduled to discuss defense motions to bar some expert testimony about chemicals, metals and firearms.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the July 20, 2012, attack on a suburban Denver theater. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Holmes will undergo a second sanity evaluation this summer. The judge ruled the first one was flawed.

The key conclusion of the first exam has not been made public — whether Holmes could tell right from wrong at the time of the shootings.

PHOTO: FILE - This June 4, 2013 file photo shows Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes in court in Centennial, Colo.  Holmes is charged with the July 2012 Aurora shootings that killed 12 people and injured 70. Sunday, July 20, 2014  marks 2 years since theater massacre. Holmes' trial is scheduled to start Dec. 8, 2014 after three postponements. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Andy Cross, Pool, File)
FILE - This June 4, 2013 file photo shows Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes in court in Centennial, Colo. Holmes is charged with the July 2012 Aurora shootings that killed 12 people and injured 70. Sunday, July 20, 2014 marks 2 years since theater massacre. Holmes' trial is scheduled to start Dec. 8, 2014 after three postponements. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Andy Cross, Pool, File)

An evaluation is mandatory for defendants who plead insanity under Colorado law, but it is not the final word. Jurors decide whether a defendant was insane, and the evaluation is a key piece of the evidence they consider.

If Holmes is found insane, he will be committed to the state hospital indefinitely. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death or life in prison.

The doctor who will conduct the second evaluation has said video is more accurate and comprehensive than handwritten notes. The doctor, whose name has not been released, suggested both sides could be barred from seeing the video and that it could be destroyed once his report is submitted.

Defense lawyers objected, saying the law doesn't authorize video and that research shows it affects patients' responses. Prosecutors did not object.

The judge is also expected to confirm Dec. 8 as the latest trial date. Two previous dates were canceled because pretrial issues required more time to resolve.

Separately, the judge might hear arguments on a defense request for the disciplinary records of two police officers listed as prosecution witnesses.

Prosecutors said both were found to have made untrue statements in other investigations. The officers are opposing the request.

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