Loughner's attorneys lose on drugs-notification request
by Michael Kiefer - Jun. 20, 2011 02:24 PM
Jared Loughner's lawyers do not have to be notified if the Tucson shooting suspect voluntarily agrees to take drugs to help restore him to competency so that he can stand trial. [Yea, the government shrinks say Loughner is nuttier then a fruit cake, but he is sane enough to voluntarily agree to take powerful psychotropic drugs the Feds want to force on him]
Loughner, 22, is accused of shooting U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others, killing six, in early January. He is undergoing restoration treatment at a federal hospital in Missouri. Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns ruled that Loughner was incompetent to stand trial after two mental health professionals diagnosed him as paranoid schizophrenic and delusional.
Restoration to competency treatment often involves use of psychotropic drugs to stabilize the defendant, and Loughner's attorneys asked that they be notified even if Loughner agreed to take the drugs willingly.
Prosecutors objected, and in a ruling issued Friday, Burns informed Loughner's lawyers that they would only be notified if hospital staff planned to adminster the drugs involuntarily for restoration purposes.
In that event, there would be a court hearing and the lawyers would be allowed to present their arguments.
But, Burns wrote, if the hospital staff decided to medicate Loughner involuntarily because he is a danger to himself or others, then Loughner would face an administrative hearing before hospital staff and not before the court. [And if Arizona law applies, they don't even have to tell Loughner what drugs or treatments they are forcing on him]
To drive home his point, Burns quoted case law: "It is less than crystal clear why lawyers must be available to identify possible errors in medical judgment."