Criminal Justice

Jared Loughner Spit at His Lawyers, But Defense Opposes Meds


The suspect in a mass shooting that killed Arizona’s chief federal district judge and five others has thrown chairs at the wall and spit at one of his lawyers while in custody, according to a court filing by his defense lawyers.

That behavior by Jared Loughner led prison officials to decide on June 14 that he should be forcibly medicated, according to an emergency defense motion (PDF posted by Politico). The prison decision “is an end run around the right to a judicial determination of whether an incompetent defendant can be involuntarily and forcibly medicated to restore competency to stand trial,” the motion says.

Politico’s Under the Radar blog has a story on the motion, which seeks to block the treatment, though the defense is unclear about whether the medication is already being administered. The filing doesn’t identify which lawyer was Loughner’s target, but it does assert that spitting isn’t all that bad. “Countless prisoners, detainees and institutionalized people have spit or worse, including throwing feces or urine on other inmates and guards, physically assaulting and injuring other inmates and guards, without being subject to forced medication, much less mind-altering psychotropic medications,” the motion says.

Loughner was found incompetent to stand trial in May. Among those wounded in his alleged shooting spree was Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

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