Prosecutor in Aurora theater shooting on judicial process in mass shooting cases

DENVER (KDVR) — When it comes to getting justice for victims of mass shootings, FOX31 asked our political analyst, George Brauchler, who prosecuted James Holmes in the Aurora theater shooting, if there is a reason these cases seem to take a long time to prosecute.

Two mass shootings across the country over the weekend have yielded arrests of the suspects in these cases.

While it might be perceived that the judicial process is very slow in these instances, we learned Sunday that is actually by design.

“How he plays this mental health card that he has, that’s the only out you have in a situation like this where you’re caught red-handed,” Brauchler said.

Brauchler said in the cases of two mass shooters arrested in New York and California over the weekend and other examples in recent history, the issue of mental health can present a delay to the judicial process.

“Frankly for us and most states, when you commit an act of first-degree murder, you sign up for prison, many times, forever and ever,” Brauchler said.

For that reason, Brauchler contends, hate crime statutes might not have as much of an impact as prosecution by local authorities over any kind of federal involvement.

“When it seems like it’s a slam dunk set of facts, they ask themselves: why does it take so long to bring this person to justice,” he said.

The public needs to be patient with the process which Brauchler said could be painstakingly slow by design.

“The Constitution makes this a very protective process for defendants, that includes mass shooters, and it becomes pretty torturously slow,” Brauchler said.

Justice in these cases and many other mass shootings don’t happen overnight.

“It will be years before this case comes to resolution,” Brauchler said.

While this could be frustrating for the public there’s a reason why these cases could feel slow to be resolved.

“These things are happening at such an increased frequency that our ability to resolve the last one is diminished, it’s going to be really tough to get to any closure on this before we have yet another Buffalo and yet another church shooting,” Brauchler said.

Brauchler noted the King Soopers shooting suspect as an example of the delays that can happen when mental health is a component in the case of a mass shooter.

Back in December, the Boulder King Soopers suspect was ruled incompetent to stand trial by a judge but could be treated and reevaluated for trial at a later time.

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