Friday, July 1, 2011

Antipsychotic Drugs

Accused Tucson gunman Jared Lee Loughner can be forced to take antipsychotic drugs while doctors attempt to make him fit to stand trial in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. Loughner, 22, is accused of killing six and wounding 13 during a Jan. 8 rampage as Giffords was greeting constituents. The Arizona Democrat was shot in the head but survived. "I defer to medical doctors," U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns said at an emergency hearing requested by the defense. "I have no reason to disagree with doctors. I didn't go to medical school." Loughner faces 49 felony charges, including murder and attempted murder, and could face the death penalty. He has pleaded not guilty. He has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and declared mentally incompetent to stand trial, at least for now. His lawyers asked Burns to block doctors from medicating him without his consent. - Tony Perry, Los Angeles TimesJudy Clarke, the lawyer representing shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner, walks out of a federal court building in San Diego on Wednesday. (Gregory Bull / Associated Press / June 29, 2011)