VIDEO: Bill Would Require Defendants’ Mental Health Evaluations Be Recorded

Written By Shaun Boyd


DENVER (CBS4) – A bill at the state capitol would require defendants who plead not guilty by reason of insanity to undergo a taped mental health evaluation.

“There is nothing we have seen as a system that provides us with as much truth as video,” said 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler

Brauchler was the lead prosecutor in the Aurora theater shooting trial. He says a 23-hour videotaped mental health evaluation was pivotal in determining James Holmes’ sanity.

Juror number 17 agrees. She told a senate committee the taped evaluation was the “single most impactful testimony” she heard at trial.

“To see how he answered, to see what he answered and to see the types of questions the psychiatrist asked, the same questions we would ask if we were trying to get to the truth and every one of us used our best efforts in getting to the truth,” she said.

Right now, there is no requirement that such evaluations be taped.

“Whatever bias that the psychiatrist or psychologist has, we’re stuck with it. If they have a problem taking notes or a problem with recollection, we’re stuck with it. A videotape provides the optimal setting to challenge, to examine, to cross examine someone who generates the pivotal piece of information on some of the biggest, most important cases we have,” said Brauchler.