Psychiatrist warned campus police about Aurora shooter a month before mass murder

posted at 9:21 am on April 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

In a revelation that may have Colorado voters rethinking their state’s push on gun control, court documents revealed that the mass shooting in Aurora that killed 12 and injured 70 more could have been prevented by law enforcement.  The psychiatrist for suspect, James Holmes, had warned campus police that Holmes was dangerous and homicidal a month before the shooting took place.  Lynne Fenton even told the police that Holmes had begun to stalk and threaten her, and yet no action was apparently taken:

A University of Colorado psychiatrist told campus police a month before the Aurora movie theater attack that James Holmes had homicidal thoughts and was a public danger, according to records unsealed Thursday.

Lynne Fenton, a psychiatrist at the Denver campus, told police that Holmes had also “threatened and harassed her via email/text messages” in June 2012. He is standing trial for the July 20 shooting rampage that killed 12 and injured 70 during a midnight premiere of the latest Batman movie. …

Soon after the shooting, university police said they had not had any contact with Holmes, a graduate student doing neuroscience research. But a search warrant affidavit released Thursday revealed that an officer had told investigators that Fenton had contacted her to report “his danger to the public due to homicidal statements he had made.”

In releasing the arrest and search warrant affidavits and other documents, District Judge Carlos Samour, the new judge overseeing the case, ruled that neither the prosecution nor defense had convinced him that making the files public would cause harm or that keeping them sealed would prevent harm.

The prosecution had tried to keep these records sealed, and it’s not difficult to see why.  (They can be viewed at KUSA’s website, where they were posted last night.) The narrative from political and law-enforcement leaders in Colorado has been that this could have been anyone with a gun who just flipped out, and a society without gun control cannot hope to stop it.  But Holmes didn’t just flip out shortly before the murder, and police had ample warning of the danger he presented.

Police have testified to having no contact with Holmes before the shooting.  Why exactly was that?  The complaint/warning from Fenton should have prompted police to make sure Holmes wasn’t a threat to Fenton, at the very least.  Had they performed that standard follow-up — and remember, this was a mental health professional telling the police that her patient was both homicidal and threatening her specifically — the police might well have had Holmes in custody long before the shooting.

Instead, this information has remained under seal while Colorado politicians insisted that it was the guns that created the unforeseen danger of mass murder.  The new release destroys that narrative, and poses another question. If police in Colorado can’t be bothered to follow up on information from a psychiatrist that her patient has become homicidal, dangerous to the community, and has threatened her specifically, why bother passing gun laws at all?

Update: Give CBS credit for covering this on their own:

The question on everyone’s minds is “Why?”, as Manuel Bojorquez says at the end — but not just “why did Holmes commit this murder?” We also want to know why the police never bothered to even talk with Holmes after Fenton’s warning.


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It won’t make a difference, because the narrative has been gobbled up by the left, and facts are no longer needed or useful to liberals, once they have a “spin” that makes sense to them.
They accept anything, even a president saying the gun used in some of these were auto weapons, and they were not…but once said, it becomes fact.
I have never seen so many sheep…so easily led.

right2bright on April 5, 2013 at 9:24 AM

… may have Colorado voters rethinking …

Don’t count on it. Colorado is a lost cause – it is quickly becoming another California.

Pork-Chop on April 5, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Don’t count on it. Colorado is a lost cause – it is quickly becoming another California.

Pork-Chop on April 5, 2013 at 9:24 AM

You beat me to it. I was not impressed with Denver when I went there last October.

Turtle317 on April 5, 2013 at 9:30 AM

So, speculation that Holmes psychiatrist was derelict in her duty to report a threat went on for months while law enforcement stood by saying nothing just like they stood by doing nothing before the killings. CYA strikes again.

mchristian on April 5, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Dude, they’re too busy making marijuana legal and letting child molesters go.

sgtstogie on April 5, 2013 at 9:32 AM

and remember, this was a mental health professional telling the police that her patient was both homicidal and threatening her specifically

Difficult case here. Doctor-patient privilege is there to protect the patient. It can only be breached if there is a threat of future danger, which should have been a red flag to the police (and in this instance, campus police should have brought in regular law enforcement to handle it.)

But are we going to deprive people of their rights simply because they feel something isn’t quite right about themselves and ask for help?

As for stalking, a formal complaint to the police needs to be made, brought to a prosecutor who makes a case before a judge. That’s going to take more than a month.

rbj on April 5, 2013 at 9:33 AM

It won’t make a difference, because the narrative has been gobbled up by the left, and facts are no longer needed or useful to liberals, once they have a “spin” that makes sense to them.
They accept anything, even a president saying the gun used in some of these were auto weapons, and they were not…but once said, it becomes fact.
I have never seen so many sheep…so easily led.

right2bright on April 5, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Pretty much.

After the steaming pile of cra…err… “common sense” legislation that was passed in MD last night, people will just keep walking over the cliff.

But clearly more laws are needed.

Clearly.

Gatsu on April 5, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Psychiatrist warned campus police about Aurora shooter a month before mass murder

Alternate headline: University of Colorado to be sued for millions.

The laws rushed through by Democrats in Colorado, of course, would have done nothing to stop this situation. Intervention by the university would have. But let’s not let that stop the attempt to get rid of the Second Amendment by idiots who think magazines are single-use items.

Happy Nomad on April 5, 2013 at 9:34 AM

But are we going to deprive people of their rights simply because they feel something isn’t quite right about themselves and ask for help?

As for stalking, a formal complaint to the police needs to be made, brought to a prosecutor who makes a case before a judge. That’s going to take more than a month.

rbj on April 5, 2013 at 9:33 AM

What? Are you playing devil’s advocate? A health care professional reported this! The prosecution and the cops tried to cover themselves by sealing the records. Who cares about the victims as long as law enforcement can look heroic!

Vince on April 5, 2013 at 9:37 AM

rbj: While I am sympathetic to people’s rights (having had issues with them myself), there must be a difference if someone qualified makes a diagnosis of _homicidal_ tendencies vs. _suicidal_ tendencies.

The fact that people seem to act faster in the latter case but not the former rather boggles my mind.

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 9:38 AM

The shrink should have told the campus police that Holmes was an anti-gay Christian zealot. They would have stopped him for sure.

happytobehere on April 5, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Difficult case here. Doctor-patient privilege is there to protect the patient. It can only be breached if there is a threat of future danger, which should have been a red flag to the police (and in this instance, campus police should have brought in regular law enforcement to handle it.)

rbj on April 5, 2013 at 9:33 AM

I think you are missing the bigger picture here. A University of Colorado psychiatrist warned campus police. Not only was James Holmes a student but he was living in (and booby-trapped) a university residence. Don’t you think the campus police should have done something? At a minimum, maybe interviewing Holmes about the stalking thing?

I don’t know what the arrangement and laws of Colorado are concerning jurisdiction but the campus police should have done SOMETHING.

Happy Nomad on April 5, 2013 at 9:39 AM

What exactly can campus security do if a psychiatrist tells them a student has homicidal thoughts? What can law enforcement do?

Honestly, I don’t know. Do the police have procedures for dealing with threats from the mentally ill?

VinceOfDoom on April 5, 2013 at 9:40 AM

James Holmes, Jared Loughner, Adam Lanza-

Each family knew; law enforcement for the first two knew. And Adam Lanza’s mother enabled.

No law being passed currently will stop the likes of these three; law enforcement lacks the ability or will to protect the public.

And my government wants to limit my ability to defend myself? Here’s a clue- no legislation will stop me from maintaining my defensive capabilities.

M240H on April 5, 2013 at 9:40 AM

We also want to know why the police never bothered to even talk with Holmes after Fenton’s warning.

If you’re a liberal – you’re response to this question is.. whew, thank goodness the police dropped the ball

drivingtheview on April 5, 2013 at 9:40 AM

It won’t make a difference, because the narrative has been gobbled up by the left, and facts are no longer needed or useful to liberals, once they have a “spin” that makes sense to them.
They accept anything, even a president saying the gun used in some of these were auto weapons, and they were not…but once said, it becomes fact.

Well said and all too true.

I have never seen so many sheep…so easily led.

right2bright on April 5, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Germany in the wake of the Weimar Republic comes immediately to mind, unfortunately. Indeed, Democrats have been ramrodding machtergreifung-like legislation and regulation through in the aftermath of each of these mass-killings, except of course the Ft. Hood shooting, which was an act of jihadic terrorism that continues to be mischaracterized by Big Brother.

Our Founding Fathers were very prescient – we’re going to see a time when the Second Amendment is invoked for the actual purpose for which is was intended – to protect the Constitution from a feral government.

turfmann on April 5, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Vince: I am not impressed by credentialism, really.

“Oh, it’s a professional.” Realize that this means, from a credential perspective, that you’re willing to toe _someone’s_ line in order to obtain said credential.

I respect the profession of mental health counseling. I do not respect any given person working in that profession, as I have personal experience with how worthless credentials are in general, and their credential can be in particular.

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 9:42 AM

rbj on April 5, 2013 at 9:33 AM

It is my understanding that the law is pretty clear about doctor-patient confidentiality and a potential threat of criminal action by a patient. If it is clear to a doctor that a patient is going to commit a crime then the doctor can legally notify law enforcement of the potential threat. Do you have a problem with such laws? If so, why?

NotCoach on April 5, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Excuse me but there is a mouse in the room that’s really an elephant. Hasn’t anyone in the US noticed his huge bushy beard. This dude converted to Islam at some point. The piece I read yesterday out of the UK says he did so in prison but that the Muslim prisoners do not claim his as one of their own which makes me wonder when it really happened.

Nobody is talking about this that I’ve seen…nobody.

Youngs98 on April 5, 2013 at 9:43 AM

why bother passing gun laws at all?

Indeed. Seems to be standard liberal procedure: Pass laws to “protect” us, crow over the accomplishment, then walk away and refuse to enforce the law.

iurockhead on April 5, 2013 at 9:43 AM

When minutes count..the cops are only a month away.

HumpBot Salvation on April 5, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Nobody is talking about this that I’ve seen…nobody.

Youngs98 on April 5, 2013 at 9:43 AM

HotAir has had a couple of posts on the issue, but the media does seem to be dodging the issue. I don’t know that it matters though. This seems to me to be nothing more than self justification for his horrendous acts after the fact. He seems to be living in a self delusional world.

NotCoach on April 5, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Youngs: Er, are you really stating that a ‘huge bushy beard’ implies Islam?

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 9:46 AM

….law enforcement lacks the ability or will to protect the public.

M240H on April 5, 2013 at 9:40 AM

What do you mean? I see the brave men and women of law enforcement sitting in their cars on the side of the road catching people criminals for driving 8 mph over the speed limit every day!

happytobehere on April 5, 2013 at 9:46 AM

A University of Colorado psychiatrist told campus police a month before the Aurora movie theater attack that James Holmes had homicidal thoughts and was a public danger, according to records unsealed Thursday.

I think this is often the case. Same with the Newton shooter, probably with many who do such horrendous acts.

My wife has worked with children for over a decade, most of them special needs of various stripes and she has often seen signs in some of these children that concern her. And, what kind of home these kids are in doesn’t always make a difference. What seems to often be a factor is how the parent raises the child – permissive often seems to be big one – and how their issues are being treated – often seem to not be being treated effectively or at all.

Logus on April 5, 2013 at 9:47 AM

rbj on April 5, 2013 at 9:33 AM

It’s not a difficult case and doctor-patient privilege doesn’t apply. He threatened the doctor. Privilege does not protect such threats.

And, it doesn’t take more than a month, especially with an individual employed by the state. A TRO can be obtained in a matter of days.

Resist We Much on April 5, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Who got kicked off Idol last night?

Bishop on April 5, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Per the National Enquirer, which I am loathe to cite but it was right about Edwards, via the Daily Mail: A prison source has confirmed that Holmes has converted to Islam.

FWIW

Resist We Much on April 5, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Resist We Much on April 5, 2013 at 9:48 AM

You’re a lawyer, so would you mind giving us some detail as to when a doctor can legally break doctor-patient confidentiality? Generally speaking anyways, because I’m sure it varies from state to state. Thank you in advance.

NotCoach on April 5, 2013 at 9:51 AM

RWM: Sure, and I’m not disputing that he converted. I’m just _appalled_ that someone points to his _beard_ as the sign thereof. I can tell you that, if you do free association with me and say ‘bearded religious guy’, ‘Islam’ is not my answer.

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 9:54 AM

NotCoach: Not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure ‘homicidal/suicidal ideation’ is one.

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Vince: I am not impressed by credentialism, really.
Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 9:42 AM

The police are, really! If I would tell the police that a guy has homicidal tendencies, they might pass on it but if the guy’s own doctor, who has credentials that allow others to believe that she knows what she’s doing, a professional, tells the police the same thing, they should investigate at least.

Man! That was a long sentence!

Vince on April 5, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Democrats, rather than lighting their hair on fire about guns, should have focused on the mental-health aspect. Indeed, conservatives should be pointing out the commonality of the AZ, CO, and CT shootings.

To be sure, mental-health commitments raise important civil-rights concerns. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t study them. Rather than destroying the Second Amendment, doesn’t it make sense to study and come up with a way to commit people who may be a danger? It seems to me that there’s a huge difference between the three recent mass shooters–all of whom seem to have had a line of people who’d have testified that he was a danger–and someone who’s getting railroaded by a vindictive relative, enemy, or whoever.

Just because the issue is difficult, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered. To me, Dems have blown an opportunity to do something that might help, and yet they chose to persecute a large, law-abiding segment of the country.

BuckeyeSam on April 5, 2013 at 9:57 AM

do free association with me and say ‘homicidal, bearded religious guy’, ‘Islam’ is not my answer.

Ding, ding, ding, ding…

Winner

socalcon on April 5, 2013 at 9:58 AM

No law being passed currently will stop the likes of these three; law enforcement lacks the ability or will to protect the public.

And my government wants to limit my ability to defend myself? Here’s a clue- no legislation will stop me from maintaining my defensive capabilities.

M240H on April 5, 2013 at 9:40 AM

The problem is, not that the police don’t want to do anything to prevent such incidences, they do.

We are once again dealing with the fall out from the 1960s.

It used to be that Lanza, Holmes, Lochner would have been locked up. And then a judge would hear a case and decide to keep someone committed. But then that power was probably abused in a few instances and in the 1960s it was decided to empty the mental illness facilities until someone was a demonstrated threat. None of the three had done any overt act of harm to themselves or others to justify committing them, which is the current standard.

Saying “hey doctor, I fantasize about killing people” doesn’t get you put away. Should it? yes, I think so, at least temporarily and letting another set of eyes look you over.

The problem is our mental health laws, which current are not based upon science, but upon “he’s not crazy, he just thinks differently.” And while I may want the former to be locked up, it’s real hard to draw a clear line.

rbj on April 5, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Youngs: Er, are you really stating that a ‘huge bushy beard’ implies Islam?

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 9:46 AM

No of course not but when I saw it yesterday I googled his name and “Islam” and a UK story popped up immediately about it. So it was a hunch based on experience that turned out to be correct–if the story is to be believed (and it sounded believable).

I hadn’t seen Hotair posts on this specifically.

Youngs98 on April 5, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Youngs98 on April 5, 2013 at 9:43 AM

No, genius.

He has the beard because he’s been placed on suicide watch since night one.

That means no sharp objects of any kind, including razors.

And before questioning what possible danger a disposable razor could possible read this – Israel Keyes

budfox on April 5, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Vince: Perhaps. And if that person were to report you erroneously, given the guild-like structure of current credentialing mechanisms, who do they go with?

Rather simple thought experiment: You’re a police officer. You have a credentialed professional tip you off that someone is having homicidal tendencies. You detain said person, and ask them if they’re having homicidal tendencies.

What do you expect the response to be? ‘No.’ The only time they wouldn’t is when these people are obviously insane even from a layman’s perspective.

So now you have a he-said, she-said situation. Credentialed professional says the guy’s a menace. Guy himself says he’s not. Who do the police believe? Who _should_ the police believe, according to due process and evidentiary standards for detainment?

That’s the crux of the question, and Appeal to Credential as Authority is NOT a very comfortable place to be in that argument, to me.

socalcon: Actually, not even that works for me. :p

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 10:04 AM

I use an electric. Maybe that also makes me a genius.

Youngs98 on April 5, 2013 at 10:04 AM

He has the same ‘glazed over’ expression as Paul Krugman .

EnglishRogue on April 5, 2013 at 10:05 AM

I’m thinking that while campus cops dropped the ball, so did the shrink. Pretty sure her responsibility goes beyond simply notifying campus cops if she believes a patient poses a threat to himself or others. If the guy was no longer a student, he is completely outside campus police jurisdiction unless he physically enters on the campus (not that they shouldn’t have notified authorities who did have jurisdiction).

On the other hand, the authorities’ efforts to conceal their failures in this case stink of CYA and political agendas. Unless the real issues are addressed, the chances for prevention of future tragedies are sabotaged by these scumbags.

novaculus on April 5, 2013 at 10:05 AM

What can law enforcement do?

whatever the hell they want, ever hear of the Patrot Act? Google the “Constitution for Dummies” speech by Andrew Napalitano to get up to speed. He also answers the question regarding doctor/patient privilege but you won’t like it. Police can obtain your health records from your doctor but your doctor can be arrested for telling you about it. Same with banks, credit cards, the post office and just about anybody else you do business with.

DanMan on April 5, 2013 at 10:06 AM

I’m thinking that while campus cops dropped the ball, so did the shrink. Pretty sure her responsibility goes beyond simply notifying campus cops if she believes a patient poses a threat to himself or others.

novaculus on April 5, 2013 at 10:05 AM

That’s great, but exactly what do you think she should have done that she didn’t do? A psychiatrist is not a law enforcement officer.

gryphon202 on April 5, 2013 at 10:07 AM

NotCoach on April 5, 2013 at 9:51 AM

I’m looking at the CO statutes right now, but I have a question for you or anyone else:

I seem to recall that either Holmes or the psychiatrist ended the relationship. Does anyone remember this and, if so, do you know who ended it and when?

Resist We Much on April 5, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Youngs: As budfox says, I can think of several much more plausible reasons for a prisoner having a beard than ‘conversion to Islam’. ‘Doesn’t care about personal appearance anymore’ rather heads _my_ list.

The fact that you got this from a Google search… kinda scares me, actually. What if you had done that with, say, ‘Catholicism’ _and got a hit_? Would you believe that he was a Catholic and thus mass murderer?

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Youngs98 on April 5, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Your a bigot or a troll to imply Islam in this case.

Basics – if he converted, it doesn’t matter jackshite what the other prisoners think of it.

The facility has certain requirements they have to meet any religious prisoner, as oxymoronic as that is.

So documents, widely available, would show they’re accommodating Fridays for prayers, food choices, and access to the prison imam.

A conversion would have been all over FNC and wire services.

budfox on April 5, 2013 at 10:08 AM

I seem to recall that either Holmes or the psychiatrist ended the relationship. Does anyone remember this and, if so, do you know who ended it and when?

Resist We Much on April 5, 2013 at 10:08 AM

I am not sure, but from a standpoint of medical ethics, I’m almost positive that Holmes did, himself. If the psychiatrist believed for any reason that Holmes was a sick individual, it would have behooved her to keep treating him, though she could not ethically (or legally) do so against Holmes’ will.

DISCLAIMER: This seems like the most likely scenario to me. I don’t have it on authority.

gryphon202 on April 5, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Oh you two are just mad because my profiling actually hit the nail on the head with a couple clacks on the keyboard. Get a grip.

Youngs98 on April 5, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Washington Nearsider on April 5, 2013 at 10:11 AM

The National Enquirer is the source.

budfox on April 5, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Oh you two are just mad because my profiling actually hit the nail on the head with a couple clacks on the keyboard. Get a grip.

Youngs98 on April 5, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Your UK source is the National Enquirer.

Obvious trolls are obvious.

Ban this clown.

budfox on April 5, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Washington Nearsider on April 5, 2013 at 10:11 AM

The National Enquirer is the source.

budfox on April 5, 2013 at 10:14 AM

We all know how wrong they were about that John Edwards thing.

Washington Nearsider on April 5, 2013 at 10:16 AM

I seem to recall that either Holmes or the psychiatrist ended the relationship. Does anyone remember this and, if so, do you know who ended it and when?

Resist We Much on April 5, 2013 at 10:08 AM

From what I can find so far, they still had a working relationship:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/30/james-holmes-schizophrenia-mental-health_n_1720163.html

melle1228 on April 5, 2013 at 10:16 AM

The National Enquirer is the source.

budfox on April 5, 2013 at 10:14 AM

The National Enquirer nailed John Edwards on his tryst with Ms. Hunter and the subsequent love child. Don’t count them out as a legitimate news source; they aren’t any worse than the alphabet networks now.

gryphon202 on April 5, 2013 at 10:17 AM

I seem to recall that either Holmes or the psychiatrist ended the relationship. Does anyone remember this and, if so, do you know who ended it and when?

Resist We Much on April 5, 2013 at 10:08 AM

In fact, several of the victims family are suing the psychiatrist over this incident.

melle1228 on April 5, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Busloads of lawyers must be on their way to Colorado after this revelation. I see some huge lawsuits on the horizon. The campus cops failed to carry out their duty. Or even refused. They are the real criminals in this case.

dogsoldier on April 5, 2013 at 10:18 AM

the source told the National Enquirer.

Congrats, Young.

You detective sleuthing lead you to a UK transcript swipe of a National Enquirer story, that was also swiped by the Times.

budfox on April 5, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Youngs: Actually, no, I’m not. I’m appalled at your Type IV error and the lack of reasoning capability that it implies.

I’ll be quite explicit. I’m appalled that you saw a beard on a defendant in a murder case and immediately assumed that he converted to Islam. I will give you small points for at least trying to confirm this, but it still… that’s scary.

gryphon: Er, if Holmes threatened the psychiatrist, I would think self-preservation would trump medical ethics and the psychiatrist in question would suggest transferring the patient to the care of another.

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Your a bigot or a troll to imply Islam in this case.
budfox on April 5, 2013 at 10:08 AM

I didn’t imply it. I stated it as a fact after reading it on several reputable news sites. When I saw his ridiculous beard it instantly reminded me of KSM at Gitmo trying to look like Bin Laden so I decided to check it out. And yes, his beard is ridiculous in the context of his orange hair at the time of the murders. If I was wrong, I would’ve closed my browser and not thought about it again. Instead I was right and it proves there’s more to this story than we are seeing in 90 seconds on the evening news. If that makes me a bigot against mass-murdering practitioners of the religion of peace, then so be it.

Youngs98 on April 5, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Vince: Perhaps. And if that person were to report you erroneously, given the guild-like structure of current credentialing mechanisms, who do they go with?
Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Why would the credentialed person report me erroneously? You can make up all kinds of scenarios to buttress your argument but your scenarios are, what, one in a million?

Vince on April 5, 2013 at 10:21 AM

gryphon202 on April 5, 2013 at 10:17 AM

No, I f’ing will count the Enquirer out when a prisoner is a ward of the f’ing state and anything he does in prison is going to be readily available to crosscheck.

If the Enquirer is such a reputable machine now, why the F didn’t they scour his official jacket?

Because it’s tabloid troll fodder for the mentally susceptible.

budfox on April 5, 2013 at 10:22 AM

gryphon: Er, if Holmes threatened the psychiatrist, I would think self-preservation would trump medical ethics and the psychiatrist in question would suggest transferring the patient to the care of another.

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Well, yeah…medical ethics only require that you not treat someone against their will. It doesn’t mean you have to continue to treat someone who is a danger to you. But I think the only people who will ever know what went on in that office for sure during those sessions are Holmes and his psychiatrist. Hearsay is suspect enough, but when it comes from the old media and the alphabet networks? I’ll take it all with a large grain of salt.

gryphon202 on April 5, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 10:19 AM

You have your timeline backwards. I – and I assume, others – didn’t presuppose he was Muslim because of the beard. I read he had converted and THEN saw his photos.

Washington Nearsider on April 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM

How would the cops have “had him in custody”?

Not really a fan of a society where psychiatrists report their patients to the police as dangerous and the cops come round them up.

TexasDan on April 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Vince: First of all, they can make a mistake.

Secondly, they may have some kind of vendetta against me. (That is, a personal reason.)

Thirdly, they may report something that is required by their credentialing institution but they themselves do not believe so as to retain their credential.
(For example, if a credentialing institution requires reporting ‘gun-related ideation’ as ‘homicidal ideation’, you can easily get this issue.)

All of these are, at least to me, not implausible reasons.

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM

If the Enquirer is such a reputable machine now, why the F didn’t they scour his official jacket?

Because it’s tabloid troll fodder for the mentally susceptible.

budfox on April 5, 2013 at 10:22 AM

I know. I think in this particular instance The Enquirer is full of shit as it is most of the time. I’m just saying, broken clock twice a day and all that jazz.

gryphon202 on April 5, 2013 at 10:26 AM

On the other hand, the authorities’ efforts to conceal their failures in this case stink of CYA and political agendas. Unless the real issues are addressed, the chances for prevention of future tragedies are sabotaged by these scumbags.

novaculus on April 5, 2013 at 10:05 AM

This! The effort to have the records sealed appears to have been for two reasons. One, because the authorities screwed up and two, they want to win the case and boost their reputations for who knows what future agenda.

Vince on April 5, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Washington: I am going by youngs’ own post, which I assumed was in chronological order.

He posted, ‘Check out the beard. The guy’s converted to Islam.’ That implies that ‘beard’ -> ‘Islam’. His follow-up posts also point out that he did an Internet search based on his seeing of the photo, which is the timeline I am using and not the timeline you used.

Again, I have no issue with seeing the beard as a possible confirmation of information heard elsewhere. I have an issue with seeing the beard as the stimulus to finding that information, as it is a very poor argument.

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 10:28 AM

All of these are, at least to me, not implausible reasons.

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Anything is possible. I may win the lottery this Saturday.

Vince on April 5, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Washington Nearsider on April 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Not me, I saw the beard, then did the search. They are right…all of the sourcing on this leads back to the Enquirer and it seems the original story is not found on the website…at least easily anyway. If it is wrong…guess how much sleep I’ll lose over it? Zero.

Youngs98 on April 5, 2013 at 10:29 AM

My prediction:

Islam will not come up in this case, as a motivation for the shooting or otherwise. The defense team will attempt to cop an insanity plea, and Holmes’ psychiatrist will be brought in as an expert witness.

gryphon202 on April 5, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Again, I have no issue with seeing the beard as a possible confirmation of information heard elsewhere. I have an issue with seeing the beard as the stimulus to finding that information, as it is a very poor argument.

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Ah. I didn’t track back far enough to get that part. It looks like Young and I share the same assumption, but for different reasons.

Washington Nearsider on April 5, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Not really a fan of a society where psychiatrists report their patients to the police as dangerous and the cops come round them up.

TexasDan on April 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM

That was a common, and approved of tactic in the Soviet Union, where, if you didn’t believe in the glory of Marxism-Leninism, that itself was proof you were crazy.

And yet I’d have no problem with committing Loughner, Lanza and Holmes. Based upon 20-20 hindsight.

rbj on April 5, 2013 at 10:30 AM

You’re a lawyer, so would you mind giving us some detail as to when a doctor can legally break doctor-patient confidentiality? Generally speaking anyways, because I’m sure it varies from state to state. Thank you in advance.

NotCoach on April 5, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Most states have reporting requirements. If you tell your doctor that you are abusing your child, by law, he has to report you. If your child’s paediatrician believes your child is being abused, she is required to report it.

If the doctor has come upon the information by way of a third-party or through a public source, it is not privileged. IOW, if you sue for disability and claim that you are paralyzed, but your doctor sees you on the golf course, he is not prevented from being questioned about what he has witnessed.

If you are committing a crime/fraud, there is no privilege. For example, if you are selling the meds that he prescribes for you.

If you are threatening to kill your wife, the doctor can report and is often required to report.

If you sue the doctor, you waive the privilege.

If you are seeing a doctor as a result of a court order, insurance requirement, work requirement, etc, communications are not privileged.

If you threaten the doctor, that communication is not privileged.

If you are involuntarily committed, there may or may not be a privilege or the privilege may be limited depending upon the jurisdiction.

Also, in many jurisdictions, if an institution – like a university – orders a student to seek psychiatric help as a condition to remaining in school – there may or may not be a privilege or it may be limited. Obviously, if the school is making mental fitness a condition to remaining in school and the student accepts this condition by attending sessions and continuing in school, then the institution is entitled to a report from the doctor and the student cannot argue that he had an expectation of privilege, but best practises would still be for the student to be clearly instructed that he is waiving, in whole or part, his doctor-patient privilege.

Resist We Much on April 5, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Washington Nearsider on April 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Don’t see why something like a bushy beard could not trigger a suspicion that is then followed up with investigation that either confirms or eliminates that suspicion.

It doesn’t necessarily imply bigotry on the part of the observer.

Cleombrotus on April 5, 2013 at 10:32 AM

That was a common, and approved of tactic in the Soviet Union, where, if you didn’t believe in the glory of Marxism-Leninism, that itself was proof you were crazy.

And yet I’d have no problem with committing Loughner, Lanza and Holmes. Based upon 20-20 hindsight.

rbj on April 5, 2013 at 10:30 AM

That’s why the federal government should have no say whatsoever in Psychiatry. Leave the commitment laws up to the state and local jurisdictions.

gryphon202 on April 5, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Vince: I see the evil that credentialism is doing to our educational establishment. Every example I used is one that I personally witnessed, in one setting, in the past two years.

Given that we are dealing with a question of individual rights, I think these questions should at least be raised.

Washington: And the order is important. ;)

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Not sure what the whole Islam controversy is, but apparently according to the Washington Times- he has converted. It wouldn’t be too awfully surprising though, because conversion to Islam is huge within the prison system. Most prisoners who find faith in the prison system now convert to Islam.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/21/aurora-theater-shooter-james-holmes-converts-islam/

melle1228 on April 5, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Both Harris and Loughner had been deemed ‘a danger to themselves or others’, yet in both cases the Kampus Kops DID NOTHING!

But never fear! Give up your guns and the police will protect you!

GarandFan on April 5, 2013 at 10:35 AM

. I have an issue with seeing the beard as the stimulus to finding that information, as it is a very poor argument.

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 10:28 AM

It may be a poor argument but I don’t see that he was making an argument as much as using it as an introduction into the idea that Islam may be a factor in the guy’s thinking process.

Cleombrotus on April 5, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Don’t see why something like a bushy beard could not trigger a suspicion that is then followed up with investigation that either confirms or eliminates that suspicion.

It doesn’t necessarily imply bigotry on the part of the observer.

Cleombrotus on April 5, 2013 at 10:32 AM

I don’t necessarily see it as implied bigotry either. Islamic conversions in the prison systems are HUGE. Islam is the fastest growing religion in our prison system.

http://www.examiner.com/article/prison-islam-american-jails-troubles-experts

melle1228 on April 5, 2013 at 10:36 AM

If police in Colorado can’t be bothered to follow up on information from a psychiatrist that her patient has become homicidal, dangerous to the community, and has threatened her specifically, why bother passing gun laws at all?

Because those homicidal maniacs are dangerous, man. It’s a lot safer for Colorado cops to confront those non-homicidal gun owners. Then the cops can maintain that they’re maintaining public order without putting themselves in too much danger.

/sarc

Aitch748 on April 5, 2013 at 10:36 AM

These shooters don’t come from nowhere. They are raised in a family like everyone else. That family should care for and protect the public from an obviously disturbed individual before they get to the point of mass murder.

DeweyWins on April 5, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Cleombrotus: *shrug* Sloppy thinking rather gets me started. ;) Initial thought (which to me is actually less likely than many others) + self-fulfilling web search + dubious source taken without a lot of other considerations is pretty sloppy, to me. ;)

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Don’t see why something like a bushy beard could not trigger a suspicion that is then followed up with investigation that either confirms or eliminates that suspicion.

It doesn’t necessarily imply bigotry on the part of the observer.

Cleombrotus on April 5, 2013 at 10:32 AM

I don’t think it implies bigotry.

Washington Nearsider on April 5, 2013 at 10:39 AM

As for the issue of counselor-client confidentiality, see the Tarasoff case.

As for “What could the cops have done?”, we’re talking mentally ill plus “dangerous to self or others.” That means involuntary confinement to a mental facility until the mess can be sorted out. This happens every day across the country, and if campus police (who are often glorified crossing guards) can’t handle it, they should have the sense to call in real law enforcement.

This isn’t even difficult.

Abelard on April 5, 2013 at 10:41 AM

These shooters don’t come from nowhere. They are raised in a family like everyone else. That family should care for and protect the public from an obviously disturbed individual before they get to the point of mass murder.

DeweyWins on April 5, 2013 at 10:38 AM

The problem is like what you have in Connecticut though. It was almost impossible for the mother in CT to have the son committed. The laws were so against her even though she was going to try. When schizophrenics and manics won’t take their meds and you can’t force them and the state won’t help you- what can you do?

melle1228 on April 5, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Scott H on April 5, 2013 at 10:39 AM

I agree. His alleged conversion to Islam may be completely unrelated to the case. But, given other recent situations with similar characteristics, it might not be a good idea to simply dismiss it out of hand.

Cleombrotus on April 5, 2013 at 10:43 AM

I didn’t imply it. I stated it as a fact after reading it on several reputable news sites. When I saw his ridiculous beard it instantly reminded me of KSM at Gitmo trying to look like Bin Laden so I decided to check it out. And yes, his beard is ridiculous in the context of his orange hair at the time of the murders. If I was wrong, I would’ve closed my browser and not thought about it again. Instead I was right and it proves there’s more to this story than we are seeing in 90 seconds on the evening news. If that makes me a bigot against mass-murdering practitioners of the religion of peace, then so be it.

Youngs98 on April 5, 2013 at 10:20 AM

No, you’re trying to purposely conflate issues because you can’t handle the reality that some people are just f’ing nuts.

Link a credible source. one that doesn’t cite the National F’ING Enquirer

I linked a direct correlative case with Israel Keyes – a Mormom turned atheist serial killer, who committed suicide in jail – who wasn’t supposed to get a disposable razor because he was on suicide watch

If you knew the facts of Holmes, you’d know he wigged out the first few nights, had to be restrained, sedated, put into isolation and on suicide watch.

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/11/14/aurora-theater-shooting-suspect-james-holmes-attempted-suicide/

budfox on April 5, 2013 at 10:45 AM

He called himself the Joker, dyed his hair red and had a batman mask. But movies and modern culture has no effect on these guys?

InterestedObserver on April 5, 2013 at 10:47 AM

When schizophrenics and manics won’t take their meds and you can’t force them and the state won’t help you- what can you do?

I know it’s hindsight but…

Step 1: Remove guns from house.
Step 2: ?

Youngs98 on April 5, 2013 at 10:48 AM

If the psychiatrist believed for any reason that Holmes was a sick individual, it would have behooved her to keep treating him, though she could not ethically (or legally) do so against Holmes’ will.

DISCLAIMER: This seems like the most likely scenario to me. I don’t have it on authority.

gryphon202 on April 5, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Er, no. Every criminal defendant is entitled to representation, but he is not entitled to representation from me…legally…ethically…morally…if he threatens me. The same thing applies to the doctor.

If I had a patient that creeped me out, threatened me, and was stalking me, he would no longer be my patient. I would try to get him another doctor, but if I couldn’t, it would not be my ethical, legal or moral responsibility.

I am unfamiliar with CO mental health laws, but unless Holmes could have been involuntarily committed (72 hour hold?), I don’t know how anyone could have forced him to continue to see a doctor and I am certainly unprepared to require ANYONE to continue to treat a patient that has threatened her with bodily harm.

For those that have brought up the lawsuits against the psychiatrist, two points:

1. One the first day of law school, my torts prof told the class: ‘Sue the tree and let the leaves fall where they may.’ IOW, you sue everyone that is even tangentially connected to the case and, if you can, add XYZ defendants at the end – those are your ‘Defendants to be named later.’

2. The psychiatrist is the portal to the big money. Not only was she an employee of the University of Colorado, the University of Colorado is a state school, which means: DEEP POCKETS. Of all of the possible, known defendants, including TimeWarner, the State of Colorado likely has the deepest pockets.

The psychiatrist has malpractise insurance and I am sure isn’t worth much. So, she isn’t the primary target. Colorado is.

Resist We Much on April 5, 2013 at 10:49 AM

There was a time that people like this were put in big buildings under supervisions for the rest of their lives.

LoganSix on April 5, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Kolorado Kops are not the sharpest tools in the shed. They’re still busy screwing the pooch on the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation, and that case is SEVENTEEN years old.

SickofLibs on April 5, 2013 at 10:50 AM

He called himself the Joker, dyed his hair red and had a batman mask. But movies and modern culture has no effect on these guys?

InterestedObserver on April 5, 2013 at 10:47 AM

To believe that, you’d have to believe he is the only crazy person on the planet. After all, he’s the only one to have done this.

Crazy people are everywhere, and ANYTHING can set them off. Nobody is arguing we should keep Jodi Foster off the big screen because she got Reagan shot – the shooter was effing nuts.

Washington Nearsider on April 5, 2013 at 10:51 AM

When I was a police officer in California, it used to be that a doctor could have an individual involuntarily committed for being a danger to himself and others. Obviously, if the doctor treating him felt he was homicidal and threatening her, the local police probobly could have committed him for a 72 mental evaluation. But, perhaps in Colorado it is different.

415woman1 on April 5, 2013 at 10:52 AM

I know it’s hindsight but…

Step 1: Remove guns from house.
Step 2: ?

Youngs98 on April 5, 2013 at 10:48 AM

I agree that mom could have done more, but I was talking in general for other cases. Laws make it extremely hard for families to commit adults. And you can’t force these people to take their meds. Change the mental health laws which have more to do with the killings than guns or what the families did or didn’t do.

melle1228 on April 5, 2013 at 10:52 AM

I know it’s hindsight but…

Step 1: Remove guns from house.
Step 2: ?

Youngs98 on April 5, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Holmes lived in an apartment alone…an apartment that he rigged with multiple IEDs. Dude knew how to make biological weapons, too. We were even giving him grants.

Resist We Much on April 5, 2013 at 10:54 AM

budfox on April 5, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Dude chill out. As mentioned, you’re right–the original source seems to be from the Enquirer so it’s taken with a grain of salt. This is a blog where you discuss things and speculate. The beard reminded me of KSM. You apparently think that makes me a bigot. I don’t care what you think. Life goes on.

Youngs98 on April 5, 2013 at 10:54 AM

As for the issue of counselor-client confidentiality, see the Tarasoff case.

As for “What could the cops have done?”, we’re talking mentally ill plus “dangerous to self or others.” That means involuntary confinement to a mental facility until the mess can be sorted out. This happens every day across the country, and if campus police (who are often glorified crossing guards) can’t handle it, they should have the sense to call in real law enforcement.

This isn’t even difficult.

Abelard on April 5, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Yeah that is pretty universal. Once the psychiatrist felt he became a danger to himself or others-patient confidentiality was off.

melle1228 on April 5, 2013 at 10:55 AM

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