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Judge rules prison can forcibly medicate Jared Loughner

Jared Loughner, seen in a police mug shot, is accused in a shooting massacre in Tucson, Ariz. shooting on Jan. 8, 2011.
June 29, 2011 12:22:35 AM PDT
A judge ruled Wednesday that prison officials can forcibly give the Tucson shooting rampage suspect anti-psychotic drugs in order to try to make him mentally fit for trial.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns scheduled the emergency hearing in San Diego on Wednesday.

Burns said he did not want to second guess doctors at the federal prison in Springfield, Mo., who determined that 22-year-old Jared Loughner was a danger.

"I have no reason to disagree with the doctors here," the judge said. "They labor in this vineyard every day."

Attorneys for Loughner argued he should not be involuntary medicated with anti-psychotics because he was not responding well to them and it violates his civil rights.

Prosecutors said Loughner should be given the meds because he's been diagnosed as schizophrenic and poses a danger to others.

On April 4, Loughner spit at his own attorney, lunged at her and had to be restrained by prison staff, prosecutors said in a filing.

Their filing also says that during a taped interview with a psychiatrist March 28, Loughner suddenly became enraged, cursed at him, threw a plastic chair at him twice, and then wet a roll of toilet paper and tried to throw it at the camera before hurling the chair twice more.

Loughner pleaded not guilty in the January shooting rampage that left six people dead and injured 13 others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Loughner arrived at the federal prison May 28 and will spend up to four months there. A judge has twice denied requests by Loughner's attorneys to be given notice before their client is drugged.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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