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Court denies motion to stop Loughner medication

•  Recent Cases     updated  2011/07/25 08:18


A federal court Friday night denied an emergency motion by defense lawyers to keep prison officials in Missouri from forcibly medicating the Tucson shooting rampage suspect with a psychotropic drug.

In a one-page ruling, judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also denied a request by Jared Lee Loughner's attorneys for daily reports about his condition at a federal prison facility in Springfield, Mo.

The judges said their denial is without prejudice to the defense seeking appropriate relief in the district court. The 9th Circuit had previously scheduled an Aug. 30 hearing in San Francisco on an appeal by Loughner's lawyers over forced medication. It wasn't immediately clear if that hearing will still be held.

Calls to lead Loughner attorney Judy Clarke for comment Friday night weren't immediately returned.

Federal prosecutors said in a filing earlier Friday that Loughner should remain medicated because he may be a danger to himself and his mental and physical condition was rapidly deteriorating.

Loughner's attorneys questioned Thursday whether the forced medication violates an earlier order by the 9th Circuit that forbid prison officials from involuntarily medicating Loughner as the court mulls an appeal on his behalf. They also said their client has been on 24-hour suicide watch.

U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke wrote in his filing Friday that "despite being under suicide watch, Loughner's unmedicated behavior is endangering him and that no measure short of medication will protect him from himself more than temporarily because they do not address the mental state which underlies his self-destructive actions."




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