State

Aug 16, 2013 11:28 PM by AP, posted by Kirsten Bennett

James Holmes lawyers again challenge death penalty

DENVER (AP) - Lawyers for Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes are again arguing that the state's death penalty law is unconstitutional.

In motions filed Friday, defense lawyers say the law doesn't set clear standards and makes it too hard for jurors to weigh mitigating factors when they deliberate whether to impose the death penalty.

Holmes' lawyers also argue that defendants who choose trial by jury are allowed fewer options to appeal the death penalty than those who choose trial before a judge, without a jury. The defense says that's unconstitutional.

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in July 2012. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

In May, the judge rejected defense arguments that the death penalty law could unfairly cripple the insanity defense.

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