Loughner to be forcibly drugged, lawyers say

Defendant Jared Loughner sits with his head in his hands during a competency hearing in federal court Wednesday, May 25, 2011 in Tucson, Ariz. as shown in this artists' rendering. Loughner is charged with shooting U.S. Rep. Garbrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. and 18 others and was deemed by a federal judge today to be incompetent to stand trial at this time. AP Photo/Bill Robles

PHOENIX - Lawyers for the Tucson shooting rampage suspect say federal prison officials have decided to forcibly give him anti-psychotic drugs.

Attorneys for Jared Loughner filed an emergency motion on Friday asking U.S. District Judge Larry Burns to stop them from doing so.

Burns has twice denied their requests to be given notice before their client is drugged.

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Defense attorney Judy Clarke wrote that a prison administrative hearing on June 14 found Loughner was a danger to himself. She doesn't know if they have started giving him drugs.

Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting that killed six and injured 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Mental health experts who examined Loughner concluded he suffers from schizophrenia; he has been at a federal prison facility in Springfield, Mo., since May 28, where experts will try to make him psychologically fit to stand trial. He will spend up to four months there.

If Loughner is later determined to be competent enough to understand the case against him and assist his lawyers, the court proceedings will resume. His stay at the facility could also be extended.

USA Today reported earlier this month that it's likely Loughner will eventually be cleared to stand trial. "It's a fairly routine part of criminal justice," Richard Bonnie, director of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy at the University of Virginia, told the newspaper.

Bonnie said about 85 percent of patients initially ruled mentally unfit are eventually cleared to stand trial or otherwise face charges against them.

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