The university where suspected theater shooter James Holmes was a neuroscience graduate student is no longer barred by court order from releasing records related to Holmes, his academic program or any interactions with campus police.
Shortly after Holmes allegedly fired into a crowded theater July 20, Arapahoe County District Court Judge William Sylvester issued a gag order for the University of Colorado.
But on Friday, he lifted the gag order and said it will be up to the attorneys for the institution to decide whether state or federal laws prevent them from releasing information.
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"This case has engendered ... extensive media interest. To protect the integrity of the investigation and of the court proceedings, the Court has repeatedly been cautious in safeguarding any potentially confidential information," Sylvester wrote. "The Court has restricted the release of information for almost four months now, giving everyone involved adequate opportunity to prepare for the proper and authorized disclosure to the public."
State and federal laws allow some information to remain private. For example, the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act — or FERPA — could be used to protect his educational records.
And Sylvester pointed out that the state's open record law already prevents the release of privileged information, like documents related to Holmes' relationship with psychiatrist Dr. Lynne Fenton.
Fenton teaches on the Anschutz Medical Campus and in 2010 helped create the campus Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment team.
Twelve people died and at least 58 were injured in the July 20 shooting that shocked the world.
Media outlets, including The Denver Post, have requested everything from faculty and staff e-mails related to Holmes to documents outlining actions taken by the institution's team of high-level academic employees skilled at assessing potential threats on campus.
Both the Holmes defense team and the prosecution have objected to the release of information from the University of Colorado, stating it would jeopardize their ongoing investigations.
Jessica Fender: 303-954-1244 , firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/oh_fender