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Judge Rules Loughner Incompetent for Trial

Judge Rules Loughner Incompetent for Trial

Associated Press

May 25, 2011

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the suspect in the Tucson shooting rampage that wounded U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is mentally incompetent to stand trial, putting the criminal case against him on hold indefinitely.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns means Jared Lee Loughner, 21, will be sent to a federal facility for up to four months in a bid to restore his competency.

Loughner, dressed in a khaki prison suit and sporting bushy, reddish sideburns, was removed from the hearing after an outburst and had to watch part of the proceeding on a TV screen in another room. Burns had Loughner escorted from the courtroom after Loughner lowered his head and said what sounded like: “Thank you for the freak show. She died in front of me.” His head was inches from the table in front of him.

Loughner was later brought back into the courtroom, and the judged told him he had a right to watch the hearing. Burns asked Loughner if he wanted to stay in the courtroom and behave or view the proceeding on a screen in another room.

Loughner responded: “I want to watch the TV screen.”

At least two survivors of the Jan. 8 attack looked on: Giffords aide Pam Simon, who was shot in the chest and right wrist; and retired Army Col. Bill Badger, who is credited with helping subdue Loughner after a bullet grazed the back of Badger’s head.

The ruling came after Loughner spent five weeks in March and April at a federal facility in Springfield, Mo., where he was examined by two court-appointed mental health professionals. The two were asked to determine whether Loughner understands the consequences of the case against him.

The competency reports by psychologist Christina Pietz and psychiatrist Matthew Carroll haven’t been publicly released.

Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 federal charges stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting at a meet-and-greet event that wounded Giffords and 12 others and killed six people, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge.

Prosecutors had asked for the mental exam, citing a YouTube video in which they believe a hooded Loughner wore garbage bags and burned an American flag.

The judge gave the two mental health professionals access to Loughner’s health records from his pediatrician, a behavioral health hospital that treated him for extreme intoxication in May 2006 and an urgent care center where he was treated in 2004 for unknown reasons.

Loughner will be sent to a federal facility for a maximum of four months to see if his competency can be restored. If he’s later determined to be competent, the case against him will resume.

If he isn’t deemed competent at the end of his treatment, his stay at the facility can be extended. There are no limits on the number of times such extensions can be granted.

If doctors conclude they can’t restore his mental competency, the judge would have to decide whether the suspect can be restored. If the judge decides there’s no likelihood of restoration, the judge can dismiss the charges against him. In that case, state and federal authorities can petition to have him civilly committed and could seek to extend that commitment repeatedly, said Heather Williams, a federal public defender in Tucson who isn’t involved in the Loughner case.

The doctors who examined Loughner were ordered not to focus on his sanity at the time of the shooting.

Loughner’s lawyers haven’t said whether they intend to present an insanity defense. But they noted in court filings that his mental condition will likely be a central issue at trial and described him as a “gravely mentally ill man.”

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

© 2009, YellowBrix, Inc.


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  • 103_0470_max50

    AZKATE

    about 3 years ago

    102 Comments

    As a person who lives in Tucson and saw the effect Jan 8, 2011 has had on the community, it makes me sick to see his face on the news almost daily. The fact that he isnt competent to stand trial now just rips the band-aide off this town. Am I glad he is off the street, yes! Am I satisfied with the judges ruling, not especially, but if it is the means to the end and the end is the electric chair, I will eagerly wait for that day.

  • Fmf_badge_max50

    Desertfox1A

    about 3 years ago

    562 Comments

    There has to be a better picture of this freak to put in the news articles. Not this "Look I'm Crazy" picture. He should never be judged as being insane or incapeable to stand trial because he is insane. You can tell by the overall look that he is hamming it up for the press. My opinion is that he should be staked out in the desert Apache style.

  • Steve_mcqueen_max50

    ilegworldchamp

    about 3 years ago

    8966 Comments

    Would someone please describe to me what a "SANE MURDERER IS LIKE" ?

  • Me_last_wk_max50

    delano388

    about 3 years ago

    4314 Comments

    BUMP

  • Img_0103_max50

    LAWMANTUKES

    about 3 years ago

    6976 Comments

    wiseass0282 ... And ...rhood, I'm with you.

  • Img_0103_max50

    LAWMANTUKES

    about 3 years ago

    6976 Comments

    HUGE BUMP..!!!!!****DenverHammer****....!!!!!

  • Img_0103_max50

    LAWMANTUKES

    about 3 years ago

    6976 Comments

    Bump..!! tigerlilly_07

  • Img_0103_max50

    LAWMANTUKES

    about 3 years ago

    6976 Comments

    "The doctors who examined Loughner were ordered not to focus on his sanity at the time of the shooting."

    And by that court order, I think that this judge STINKS...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Img_0103_max50

    LAWMANTUKES

    about 3 years ago

    6976 Comments

    And I don't think that a bunch of "Cuoom-ba-ya" BS from a liberal judge will help matters any. I think that If this a$$hole had the mental capacity to plot this evil act, and to purchase weapons and ammo such as the extended mags with high powered ammunition, then he knew exactly what the hell he was doing...!!!! I don't think for one minute, that he was mentally demenished in any way shape or form. I think that this was definately the wrong decision handed down by a liberal biased judge that has no concept of who is dangerous and who is'nt...!!

  • Img_0103_max50

    LAWMANTUKES

    about 3 years ago

    6976 Comments

    I think this Ba$tard should be put away for the rest of his life..!!! Regardless of his ability to stand trial or not...!! I say LOCK HIS A$$ AWAY..!! And throw away the key..!!

  • 582602_3283682777720_334551836_n_max50

    LanaNJ

    about 3 years ago

    6950 Comments

    Thank You UMDAux, That was EXACTLY my point.
    If you look into this particular case, People such as Pima College Professors, PIMA's Dean, Loughners Neighbors, Classmates, and PIMA's Campus Police all would be put on the stand. They all have said and some had written statements ++PRIOR++ to the shootings stating Loughner was Insane and a Danger to Society. With that said, given the fact that this monster would have a 50/50 percent chance of an acquittal, Judge deeming him incompetent =%100 incarceration, hopefully in a max security mental institution. (better then him getting freedom) The Judge made it impossible for Loughner to get out of it. Loeghner would have to prove he's sane, if he proves he sane he goes to Trial. It may not be what we all may want, but IMO it was a Good Call by the Judge.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    UMPDAux

    about 3 years ago

    144 Comments

    Bump LonnaNJ

    Give how easily criminals can get away with crime in the U.S. legal system, I'd say the judge's decision is simply ensuring that the odds are stacked in the prosecution's favor. Too many criminals have gotten away with crime due to the insanity defense.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    jlandreth

    about 3 years ago

    106 Comments

    Anyone who sends a message to friends the night before saying "don't be mad at me" is competent enough to stand trial. Hopefully in September when he goes back he will be ruled fit and get max punishment

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    about 3 years ago

    11194 Comments

    I'd say to throw him down a well someplace, but I wouldn't want to see anyone's drinking water contaminated.

  • C1__67__max50

    Redsky

    about 3 years ago

    2918 Comments

    Bump APD526

    I agree, this guy is crazy. But, he is also GUILTY and should be punished as such.

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