The judge in the Colorado theater shooting case is rejecting a defense attempt to block a second sanity evaluation of defendant James Holmes.

But in rulings Monday, the judge also says he'll keep the new examination on hold in case the defense wants to appeal his order.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the 2012 attack. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Holmes underwent a mandatory sanity evaluation last year. The key findings haven't been made public, but prosecutors asked for a new evaluation, saying the doctor who conducted the first one was biased.

The judge ruled the first exam was inadequate and ordered a second.

Holmes' lawyers objected, saying the order is improper and violates Holmes' rights.