A federal judge on Wednesday rejected a plea by defense attorneys for Jared Lee Loughner to prevent prison doctors from forcibly medicating the Arizona shooting suspect. He will continue to receive anti-psychotic drugs; Judge ordered the doctors on the case, rejecting the motion of lawyers that the decision needed to be analyzed carefully.
"I defer to medical judgment," U.S. District Judge Larrysaid that the prison doctors were within their rights to force Loughner to take anti-psychotic drugs against his will. "I have no reason to disagree with the doctors here. They labor in this vineyard every day." Burns said the prosecutors had claimed in court that Loughner spit on his own attorney, lunged at her and had to be restrained by prison staff. There was also account of an outburst during a March 28 interview with a mental health expert in which the Tucson shooting suspect had become enraged and threw a plastic chair at her twice after cursing her.
Judge Burns' decision came after Loughner's lawyers filed an emergency request last week to prevent their client's forced medication. Burns said he did not want to second-guess doctors at the federal prison in Springfield, Missouri, who had ruled that Loughner was a danger.
Loughner’s attorneys asked the court to stop the medication as forcing him to take the drugs against his will violates his rights. Reuben Camper Cahn, one of Loughner's lawyers said that doctors at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri, where Loughner is being held, should have tried milder tranquilizers instead of mind-altering psychotropic drugs. Prison authorities "allowed competing objectives to interfere" by ordering the psychotropic drugs, which are for treating mental illness, Cahn asserted. He added that prison doctors should also consider alternatives to medication, like using restraints and mouth guards or taking away his chair. "He really is not posing any risk to others," Cahn noted that Loughner was being kept in isolation.
Prosecutors responded that the prison officials acted properly in ordering the medication as it was necessary to control Loughner’s mental illness. "This is a person who is a ticking time bomb," Prosecutor Wallace Kleindienst said. "He's lunged at his defense counsel and spits at her." The authorities were mindful that Loughner is accused of killing six people and injuring 13 others, including Representative. Mental health experts had determined that Loughner, the 22-year-old college dropout, suffers from schizophrenia and will try to make him psychologically fit to stand trial.