Colorado law means full costs of defense in theater shooting case might never be known

As the Colorado theater shooting case moves closer toward a trial, the taxpayer-funded attorneys for defendant James Holmes have revealed little about their case, including how much it has cost to defend him.

The issue highlights a debate over whether public defenders should have to disclose their costs. They say that would reveal their trial strategy and unfairly help prosecutors.

Frustrated lawmakers in Colorado drafted a bill that would have forced the lawyers to reveal the costs and other information, but it failed in a committee.

Ernie Lewis, executive director for the National Association of Public Defense, says open records laws vary from state to state, but public defenders are rarely required to share costs of defending a specific case.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in a Denver-area movie theater in 2012.