Prosecutors have said the jury was divided on the sentence, with 11 favoring death and one favoring life without parole. Under Colorado law, jurors must be unanimous to impose the death penalty, so Holmes automatically got a life sentence.
Sadie Gurman reports: James Holmes was an angry quitter who gave up on life and turned his hatred into murder and mayhem against innocent victims in a Colorado movie theater, the judge said Wednesday before formally sentencing him to life in prison.
“We know that is very, very hard for people to see. We cannot feel the depths of your pain. We can only listen to everything you have expressed, and we pray for you…We are very sorry this tragedy happened, and sorry everyone has suffered so much.”
— Arlene Holmes
Samour contrasted Holmes’ bloody assault with the compassion of a juror who voted for a life sentence instead of the death penalty. And he noted the trial was fair, even if some victims were disappointed that Holmes didn’t get the death penalty.
“It is almost impossible to comprehend how a human being is capable of such acts.”
— Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr.
Samour formally sentenced Holmes to life in prison without parole for the murders of 12 people. He also was sentencing Holmes to more than to 3,200 additional years for attempted murder and an explosives conviction.
The judge had no other sentencing option on the murder charges after a jury earlier this month did not unanimously agree that Holmes should get the death penalty. Samour issued his sentence after two days of testimony from survivors of the attack, including first responders.
“Jurors rejected Holmes’ insanity plea, convicting him of murdering 12 people and trying to kill 70 others when he opened fire on a packed theater in suburban Denver on July 20, 2012.”
But he first spent more than half an hour defending the integrity of the justice system and disputing complaints that the trial was a waste of time. He noted the proceedings gave family members an opportunity to tell the world about their slain loved ones and provided survivors the chance to talk about their ordeal.
“I believe in the system. I said that before, and I’ll say it again. I believe in the system.”
— Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr.
Samour disputed some victims’ suggestion that Holmes would have an easy life behind bars, noting prison is harsh and restrictive.
More than 100 victims and survivors testified this week about the searing physical and emotional scars the 2012 shooting has left. Read the rest of this entry »
Premeditated: A new election law leaves the door wide open for abuse in hotly contested races
John Fund writes: Perhaps the most hard-fought Senate race this year will be Colorado’s showdown between Democratic senator Mark Udall and Republican congressman Cory Gardner. The RealClearPolitics average of polls in the race shows Gardner holding a lead of 1.3 percentage points. The outcome may determine control of the U.S. Senate, and the margin of victory could be less than the 11,000-vote margin by which Democratic senator Michael Bennet was reelected in Colorado in 2010.
[Also see: John Fund’s Voter Fraud: We’ve Got Proof It’s Easy]
But there is a significant difference in this year’s Senate race. In 2013, a new Democratic state legislature rammed through a sweeping and highly controversial election law and convinced Democratic governor John Hickenlooper to sign it. The law, known as House Bill 1303, makes Colorado the only state in the country to combine two radical changes in election law: 1) abolishing the traditional polling place and having every voter mailed a ballot and 2) establishing same-day registration, which allows someone to appear at a government office and register and vote on the same day without showing photo ID or any other verifiable evidence that establishes identity. If they register online a few days before, no human being ever has to show up to register or vote. A few keystrokes can create a voter and a “valid” ballot. Once a ballot cast under same-day registration is mixed in with others, there is no way to separate it out if the person who voted is later found ineligible. Other jurisdictions that have same-day registration, such as Washington, D.C., treat the vote as a provisional ballot pending verification. Colorado immediately counts the vote.
“We have uniquely combined two bad ideas, both of which open the door to fraud and error along with creating huge administrative headaches,” warns Republican Scott Gessler, Colorado’s secretary of state. Along with the liberal Denver Post (the state’s leading newspaper) and a few Republican clerks from the state’s largest counties, Gessler fought passage of the law.
[Order John Fund’s book “Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk“ from Amazon.com]
Wayne Williams is the clerk of El Paso County, which includes Colorado Springs, the state’s second-largest city. He says HB 1303 was sold as a way to “modernize” elections and increase turnout, but it’s fixing a system that wasn’t broken. In 2012, Colorado was among the top three states in the turnout of eligible citizens. Its number of registered voters that year climbed 13.7 percent, well above normal population growth. At the same time, the state’s online voter-registration system processed 250,000 changes submitted by voters, ensuring a more accurate and less duplicative record of the electorate. Read the rest of this entry »
Amid all the articles pimping the successful $2 million tax heist in Colorado, what’s often not mentioned is that this is less than the newly-minted state pot dealers claimed they’d pull in. Breitbart.com‘s William Bigelow offers this unwelcome measure of sobriety:
The bullish predictions about the revenue Colorado would accumulate from sales of recreational marijuana may have been quite premature. In February, Governor John Hickenlooper’s budget office estimated that recreational pot shop sales added to medicinal marijuana sales would approach $1 billion in the fiscal year beginning in July; the budget office suggested $134 million in tax and fee revenues entering state coffers.
But in January of 2014, Colorado only brought in $2 million from recreational pot shop sales, far short of what would lead to a successful prognosis from Hickenlooper’s budget office.
Colorado is back as a national bellwether
Awr Hawkins writes:
The founders of Basic Freedom Defense Fund (BFDF) and Pueblo Freedom & Rights announce they are now pursuing the logical next step in Colorado–the repeal of the draconian gun laws supported senators John Morse (D-Colo. Springs) and Angela Giron (D-Pueblo). Read the rest of this entry »
AWR HAWKINS writes: From the moment the recall effort in Colorado began, money started flowing in from out-of-state gun control proponents and influence flowed in from Chicago. It was all part of an effort to protect state senators Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) and John Morse (D-Colo. Springs) from being recalled.
And by extension, it was about protecting Colorado’s new gun control laws as well.
When the gun control measures were passed, and then signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper (D) on March 20, Coloradans in Giron and Morse’s districts felt hoodwinked. El Paso County Sherrif Terry Maketa said, “The two senators dismissed [their constituents’] opinions, literally said they did not want to hear from them,” thus setting the recall effort in motion. Read the rest of this entry »
THE FIX’s Sean Sullivan writes: Something pretty remarkable happened in Colorado on Tuesday night. John Morse, the Democratic president of the state Senate, was recalled from office. So was Democratic state Sen. Angela Giron.
Taken together, the losses arguably represent the biggest defeat for gun-control advocates since the push for expanded background checks failed in the U.S. Senate earlier this year.
Morse and Giron appeared on ballots Tuesday in the culmination of a recall campaign that largely shaped up as a referendum on the state’s recently passed gun-control laws, for which both Morse and Giron voted. Out of state money poured in on both sides. On one end, the National Rifle Association dished out six figures. On the other, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg did too.
It’s not every day that you see an incumbent recalled from office, let alone someone as high-profile as a state Senate president. The message the defeat of Morse and Giron sends to legislators all across the country is unmistakable: If you are thinking about pushing for new gun-control laws, you could face swift consequences. Read the rest of this entry »
COLORADO SPRINGS — Two Colorado Democrats who provided crucial support for a slate of tough new gun-control laws were voted out of office on Tuesday in a recall vote widely seen as a test of popular support for gun restrictions after mass shootings in a Colorado movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school.
The election, which came five months after the United States Senate defeated several gun restrictions, handed another loss to gun-control supporters. It also gave moderate lawmakers across the country a warning about the political risks of voting for tougher gun laws. Read the rest of this entry »
BREAKING: Colorado lawmakers lose recalls over unpopular gun-control law support , Second Amendment activists celebrate victoryPosted: September 10, 2013
DENVER (AP) — Voters ousted two Colorado Democratic lawmakers Tuesday in the state’s first ever legislative recall launched over their support for stricter gun laws after last year’s mass shootings.