Batman Shooting & the Insanity Defense

Twenty-four year old James Holmes has been charged with two dozen counts of first-degree murder after opening fire on a crowd of Aurora, Colorado theater-goers attending the midnight premier of Batman: Dark Knight Rises. Holmes faces two counts of murder for each person that died, as well as 116 counts of attempted murder.

Holmes' defense team is believed to be preparing an insanity defense- which could result in a tough legal battle. In Colorado, prosecutors are required to prove that a defendant was sane at the time the crime was committed. With the burden of proof on their side, it could be difficult to show conclusively that Holmes was in his right mind, when dressed up as Batman villain Bane and armed with multiple weapons, he shot and killed multiple Colorado residents in the dark seclusion of a movie theater.

Since the James Holmes incident in Aurora, many copy-cat killers have been caught and arrested by police across the country. In the words of one woman, "Movie theaters and the act of group entertainment are going to be heightened experiences now, fraught with the pain of history. We're going to feel different when the lights go down."

The insanity defense dates back to the Code of Hammurabi, yet this defense is used in less than 1% of U.S. Criminal Justice System cases. Because an individual is tested, it can be difficult to "fake" insanity. According to a study called Malingering of Psychiatric Disorders and Cognitive Impairment in Criminal Court Settings, "Defendants who successfully feign mental impairment take advantage of society's compassion for the mentally ill and create skepticism towards those that are truly incompetent or insane." The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit enforces a sentencing enhancement for defendants who fake insanity.

If you have been accused of murder or any serious crime, secure a competent criminal defense team today and fight the charges against you with the best resources possible. There are many defenses available for you such as provocation, intervening events, duress, necessity, factual innocence, insufficient proof and self-defense. Hire a criminal defense attorney from Lessem & Newstat today to stand beside you and to give you the aggressive representation you need!