(CN) – Doctors do not have to notify Jared Lee Loughner’s attorney before medicating the suspected Tucson shooter who was recently deemed unfit to stand trial, a federal judge ruled.
Loughner is being held at a federal facility in Springfield, Mo., where he will stay for up to four months while undergoing treatment for schizophrenia, according to a court order. Last week, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns declared that the 22-year-old was incompetent to stand trial for a shooting rampage that killed six people and injured 13, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords,
In a one-sentence motion filed May 27, defense attorney Judy Clarke asked that the court give “reasonable advance notice to counsel of any intent to administer psychotropic medication to Mr. Loughner.”
Judge Burns denied that request in an order filed late Thursday.
“The court is confident that the trained medical staff at the Federal Medical Facility are aware the defendant may not be forcibly medicated absent a suitability determination and authorization from this court,” Burns wrote. “If defense counsel is asserting a right to contest any unforced treatment regimen selected by the FMC medical staff – which, only if extant, implies a requirement that the FMC staff provide counsel with advance notice of the defendant’s voluntary decision to take anti-psychotic medication – counsel must file a supplemental motion, more than one sentence long, outlining the legal theory and case law supporting such a right.” (Emphasis in original.)
Prior to his May 25 competency hearing, Loughner spent more than a month under examination at a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility in Missouri. Two examining physicians, Drs. Christina Pietz and Matthew Carroll, independently found that Loughner was unable to assist in his own defense and suffers from schizophrenia.
The Jan. 8 shooting spree that Loughner is accused of committing resulted in the deaths of six people, including a 9-year-old girl, U.S. District Judge John Roll and Giffords’ aide Gabriel Zimmerman.