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Court Rules Accused Tucson Shooter Can Be Forcibly Medicated

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Newscom

Loughner, 22, had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic by a prison psychologist and court-appointed psychiatrist, but refused to take the recommended medication, according to court filings. He has been forcibly medicated since June 21.

He "spat on his attorney, lunged at her, and had to be restrained by staff" on April 4, and later threw chairs in his cell.

He was notified that if actions on his part showed "dangerousness to others within the correctional setting," the psychiatrist would "authorize treatment with psychotropic medication on an involuntary basis."

According to court proceedings, Loughner said "Fuck you," while being interviewed by the court psychiatrist and threw a plastic chair twice towards the doctor. He "wet a roll of toilet paper attempting to throw it at the camera, and again threw the chair twice. The chair hit the grill between the defendant and Dr. Pietz," according to the court filing.

On the day of an initial hearing to determine if he was to be be involuntarily medicated, Loughner refused an offer to be present in court and instead "barricaded himself by lying down behind his bed," the court psychiatrists reported.

The defendant then submitted a written appeal to object to the court decision in favor of involuntarily medication, which "contained some profanities."

"He claims that judicial approval is required before a prison can medicate an inmate for this reason," state the filings. "The defendant is incorrect."

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns rejected the emergency petition from Loughner's lawyers which argued that the medication violated his constitutional rights, reported Reuters. His lawyers also argued he was being given more potent medication than necessary.

Loughner is currently incarcerated at a prison hospital in Missouri, and was not in court for the hearing in U.S. District Court in San Diego after Burns determined him mentally incompetent to stand trial.

About The Author

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Zoë Schlanger is Frontpage Editor at TPM. Zoë was a TPM intern in 2011, and prior to returning here she was editor in chief of NYU Local, the alternative independent student news site at NYU. Zoë has interned at places like the Nation, InsideClimate News, The Rachel Maddow Show and Gothamist. She can be reached at zoe@talkingpointsmemo.com.