A federal judge on Thursday denied a request by Jared Lee Loughner’s lawyers to be notified before doctors give him any anti-psychotic medication.
U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said he was confident that doctors at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Mo. – where Loughner is being held while undergoing treatment – would adhere to federal law, which only allows them to administer drugs to Loughner if he voluntarily decides to take them.
If Loughner, who was deemed unfit to stand trial last week, refuses to take the anti-psychotic medication, then prosecutors may seek to gain a request by doctors for the court’s approval to forcibly administer the drugs. In that case, Burns said, Loughner’s lawyers would be notified.
“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 in an order denying the request.
Loughner is accused of killing six people and wounding 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who is still recovering from a gunshot wound to the head during a shooting rampage at the Congresswoman's constituent event in Tuscon, Ariz. on Jan. 8.
Loughner is being treated at the Missouri medical center, in the prosecution’s hope that he will be rehabilitated and fit to stand trial by Sept. 21, when he is due back in court. Loughner's lawyers petitioned Burns last week to be notified before any drugs were given to him.
Burns said that if Loughner's lawyers wanted to be notified before he was administered any drugs which he voluntarily agreed to take, they must resubmit a more detailed request outlining their stipulations.
By Jordy Yager