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Shooting suspect expected in court

The suspect in last month's Colorado cinema shooting that left 12 dead is expected to be in court again as prosecutors seek to show that he is sane.

Prosecutors are seeking non-medical education records turned over last week to Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester. Defence lawyers have asked that nobody, even the judge, examine them.

James Holmes, a former neuroscience doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado, is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 in the July 20 shooting at an Aurora screening of the latest Batman film.

Prosecutors have said they need the documents to gain access to a notebook reportedly containing violent descriptions of an attack. The notebook reportedly was in a package sent to university psychiatrist Lynne Fenton.

Defence lawyer Daniel King has said the notebook is protected by a doctor-patient relationship. Mr King claims that Holmes is mentally ill and sought Ms Fenton for help.

Ms Fenton is expected to testify at a hearing on August 30.

Former Denver deputy district attorney and law professor Karen Steinhauser said arguments over the records are part of preparations for a trial over Holmes' sanity.

"They know it's not a question of who did this," Ms Steinhauser said. "This is not a question of self-defence. They know that the only possible defence is that he was not sane at the time."

Academic records do not have the same legal protection as communication between a doctor and patient, but Ms Steinhauser said prosecutors would have to tell a judge why they want them.

The university records could contain his school application, recommendation letters, emails between professors about their impressions of Holmes, as well his grades and progress reports on his research.

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