Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr., who is presiding over the trial of Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes, has denied a motion by defense attorneys asking that he be replaced. The defense argued in the motion that he has used "hostile and demeaning" language in his rulings during the case, and implied that Samour's comments show a bias on his part against Holmes.
Samour denied the accusation in declining the request to have a new judge preside over the case, saying he stands by his words and actions and that he is not biased but used the language in order to avoid any potential for ambiguity.
"No objective person could reasonably infer from the undersigned's Orders that he has a bent of mind against the defense or that he is in anyway biased or prejudiced against the defendant or his attorneys," Samour states in the Friday order. " The undersigned stands steadfast by every Order he has issued in this case."
The defense filed the motion requesting a new judge on Thursday, stating that Samour employed "a litany of insulting adjectives and phrases" like "devoid of merit," "lackluster," "anemic," "cursory" and "half-hearted" that were "aimed at the quality of defense counsel's work" in response to two motions filed on behalf of Holmes. The defense can appeal the judge's ruling on the motion, though it remains unclear whether or not it will choose to take that step, according to the Denver Post.
Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges that he killed 12 people and injured 70 on July 20, 2012, at a packed movie theater in Aurora in one of the most severe mass shootings in American history. Holmes could receive the death penalty if he is convicted of the crimes. His trial is expected to begin with jury selection in January, the Post reported.