The man who killed a Ninth Circuit judge and left Representative Gabrielle Giffords fighting for her life cannot be forced to take anti-psychotic medications, the Ninth Circuit said.
Jared Loughner was granted some temporary relief as his attorneys argued for a stay last Friday, arguing that prison officials should not force Loughner to take anti-psychotic drugs upon determination that he may be a danger to himself or others, writes the Tucson Sentinel. His attorneys argue that he can only be forced to take such drugs after a court hearing, in line with a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Instead, the drugs were forced on Loughner after an administrative hearing where his attorneys were not present.
Last Wednesday, a San Diego based federal district court judge ruled that Loughner could be compelled to take those drugs. His attorneys appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals immediately.
Loughner was first ordered to take the medication earlier this month, to render him competent to stand trial.
Loughner's mental competency has been at question. He has reportedly spit at his attorney, thrown chairs in his jail cell and has been in denial that Giffords survived his shooting spree.
On January 8, Loughner opened fire in a grocery store parking lot, killing six people including a federal judge within the Ninth Circuit. As a result of the judge's death, Loughner's case is being heard by a Ninth Circuit judge from San Diego instead of Tucson. The shooting spree has been labeled as an attempted assassination on Gabrielle Giffords.
No word yet on whether prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty for Jared Loughner.
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