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Thread: Judge approves use of 'truth serum' on accused Aurora shooter James Holmes

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    Judge approves use of 'truth serum' on accused Aurora shooter James Holmes

    Legal and medical experts are questioning the decision of a judge in Colorado to allow James Holmes, the suspected gunman in the Aurora cinema shooting, to be tested with a "truth serum" should he plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

    Judge William Sylvester ruled that in the event of Holmes pleading insanity his prosecutors would be permitted to interrogate him while he is under the influence of a medical drug designed to loosen him up and get him to talk. The idea would be that such a "narcoanalytic interview" would be used to confirm whether or not he had been legally insane when he embarked on his shooting spree on 20 July last year.

    The precise identity of the drug that would be used has not been released, other than a statement that it would be "medically appropriate", but it would most likely be a short-acting barbiturate such as sodium amytal.

    William Shepherd, chair of the criminal justice section of the American Bar Association, whose members include both prosecutors and defence lawyers, said that the proposed use of a "truth drug" to ascertain the veracity of a defendant's plea of insanity was highly unusual in the US. He predicted it would provoke intense legal argument relating to Holmes's right to remain silent under the fifth amendment of the US constitution.

    "If a defendant loses his right to remain silent because the court has authorised the use of drugs that make him talk, that would raise all sorts of fifth amendment issues that both sides would have to address."

    Shepherd also wondered whether some members of the trial jury would object to "the sound of the government forcing a truth serum down the throat of a defendant".

    Full story: Judge approves use of 'truth serum' on accused Aurora shooter James Holmes | World news | guardian.co.uk
    Are there situations where this should be allowed? Personally, I think it is unconstitutional and I don't like the precedent it sets.

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    Re: Judge approves use of 'truth serum' on accused Aurora shooter James Holmes

    Quote Originally Posted by Pilot View Post
    Are there situations where this should be allowed? Personally, I think it is unconstitutional and I don't like the precedent it sets.
    I don't like the idea of truth serum!

    By contrast Holmes should have been shot while escaping!!

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    Re: Judge approves use of 'truth serum' on accused Aurora shooter James Holmes

    "**** you, 5th amendment!"

    Will be one of the easiest appeals ever, and the guy will walk free because of this idiocy.
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    Re: Judge approves use of 'truth serum' on accused Aurora shooter James Holmes

    What a ridiculous ruling.

    Why would such a thing even be necessary? They caught him with guns and ammo. He had freaking red dyed hair so he was relatively easy to pick out in a crowd. They know that his apartment was all booby trapped. He's guilty. Put him in front of a jury and get the damned verdict.

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    Re: Judge approves use of 'truth serum' on accused Aurora shooter James Holmes

    I'm a little confused.

    In the first paragraph, you say that the defendant will be "allowed" to be tested and in the second you say that the judge "ruled" ... "prosecutors would be permitted to interigate" him. If the judge is requiring that the defendant must agree to the test as a condition of his plea, that may be unconstitutional. If, however, the defense has agreed to the test and has asked the court to admit the results of the test as part of their plea, that is a different story entirely and likely constitutional and not binding on any other case/defendant.

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    Re: Judge approves use of 'truth serum' on accused Aurora shooter James Holmes

    I do not agree, no person should be forced to help the prosecution in their attempts to convict him, he has the right to remain silent and with this truth serum he will be forced to talk against his will.
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    Re: Judge approves use of 'truth serum' on accused Aurora shooter James Holmes

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce View Post
    "**** you, 5th amendment!"

    Will be one of the easiest appeals ever, and the guy will walk free because of this idiocy.
    I don't know about him walking free. Convincing a jury to let him go would be next to impossible. Regardless of the arguments and even the law, this case is so emotional and there is no doubt that he did in fact commit the crime. Finding a jury that would care if his rights were violated is unlikely.

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    Re: Judge approves use of 'truth serum' on accused Aurora shooter James Holmes

    Quote Originally Posted by CanadaJohn View Post
    I'm a little confused.

    In the first paragraph, you say that the defendant will be "allowed" to be tested and in the second you say that the judge "ruled" ... "prosecutors would be permitted to interigate" him. If the judge is requiring that the defendant must agree to the test as a condition of his plea, that may be unconstitutional. If, however, the defense has agreed to the test and has asked the court to admit the results of the test as part of their plea, that is a different story entirely and likely constitutional and not binding on any other case/defendant.
    Not the case here.
    The judge approved the use of a “narcoanalytic interview,” a decades-old process in which patients are given drugs to reduce their inhibitions. The prospect of such an interview alarmed defense lawyers, who filed documents opposing the technique.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/12/us...erum.html?_r=0

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    Re: Judge approves use of 'truth serum' on accused Aurora shooter James Holmes

    This is very exciting. I have no sympathy for the man who is proven beyond any doubt to be convicted of mass murder. They should issue the drug to him and fry him later!

    Barbiturates are sedative drugs that effect the nervous system. It's influence is dosage dependent. If experts are to issue it they may spare Holmes from overdose and give him enough to be in a hypnotic state so as he will not be able to be conscious of what he says and thus be unable to control his speech. He would thus answer the questions truthfully and not hide behind amendements or laws.

    Too bad barbiturates effect large parts of the brain and how it exactly effects the central nervous system is not known yet.

    http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/barbiturate.aspx
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    Re: Judge approves use of 'truth serum' on accused Aurora shooter James Holmes

    I guess I don't understand why they even need him to confess.

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