Jul 27, 2012 04:35 AM EDT
Colorado Judge Prohibits University from Releasing Holmes' Records
The mystery surrounding the Aurora shooting suspect, James Holmes' time spent studying in the Colorado University Denver doesn't seem to unravel any sooner.
Judge William Sylvester overseeing the case has issued an order preventing the University from releasing any records of Holmes, 24 who was a doctoral student of Neuroscience at the university's Anschutz Medical Campus. He had initiated the process of withdrawal and the reasons are yet to be released.
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What appears to be a reaction to the leak by law enforcement officials to the media about the notebook of massacre illustrations, Judge Sylvester has extended the gag order to the university Thursday.
The judge's original order was requested by the Public Defender's Office and directed at attorneys, investigator or law enforcement official involved in the case to refrain from discussing privileged information outside of the courtroom.
Fox Network had a report on a notebook allegedly sent by Holmes to a psychiatrist at the university detailing the plans of the shooting, prior to the massacre.
Many media outlets have filed open record requests for Holmes' school records after he was accused of killing 12 and injuring several at the midnight premiere of new batman movie.
But the judge said if he releases information in response to the media requests filed under Colorado Open Requests Act, it would "impede an ongoing investigation."
He cited a provision under the Colorado Open Records Act that prevents the public from viewing open records "prohibited by ... the order of any court."
Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers requested the order after the University of Colorado Denver warned her office Saturday about the record requests. In its request to the court, the district attorney's office noted that reporters were not requesting educational records, which would be prohibited from being released, but emails that are not exempted from the open records law.
Though the prosecution had not seen the records, Chambers asked the judge to seal them from release, saying their disclosure could be "contrary to the public interest." The university agreed with the motion, and so did the judge.
Judge Sylvester has also sealed the case file, preventing the public from seeing the accusations and legal arguments that both sides will make. The only release of information involving the court case is on a website maintained by the Colorado State Judicial Branch. It includes a select number of motions by attorneys and orders by the judger. Not all of the motions filed are available for public view.
About 11 hours after the attack, Barry Shur, dean of the graduate school at the university, sent an e-mail to faculty, students and staff saying: "If anyone is contacted by the media, please refer them" to a school spokeswoman. Shur's e-mail was released in response to an open-records request from The Associated Press.
But the earlier this week Shur denied trying to prohibit those who knew Holmes from talking.
Holmes is expected to be formally charged with 12 counts of first-degree murder and numerous other charges Monday.