Federal district court judge Larry A. Burns in San Diego has recently ruled that Jared Lee Loughner, an individual who is charged with shooting Representative Gabrielle Giffords, will continue taking forced antipsychotic drugs in order to make him competent to stand trial. Loughner has been prosecuted for the Tucson shooting rampage that left six people dead and 13 others wounded, including Gabrielle Giffords. A federal judge, John M. Roll, and a 9-year-old girl, Christina Taylor Green, were among the six victims killed during the shooting. Loughner is facing 49 federal charges including murdering and attempting to murder several federal officials and multiple constituents of Ms. Giffords, who were attending a public event that day.
Earlier this year, Judge Larry A. Burns ruled that Loughner was not able to understand the nature of criminal proceedings pending against him, and he could not assist his attorneys in preparing for his defense. As a result, Loughner was put in a federal facility in Springfield, Missouri, where he was undergoing medical treatment and psychological evaluation. Two experts who examined him at a federal psychiatric facility agreed that Loughner was mentally incompetent, and that he suffered from schizophrenia and experienced delusions and irrational thoughts. This means that as long as the experts continue to believe that Loughner can be rendered competent through psychiatric treatment, he will be forced to take medications.
It also means that as a result of Loughner’s psychological evaluation that revealed that he was suffering from schizophrenia, his defense counsel may consider changing his plea from not guilty to not guilty by reason of insanity. Under the federal insanity defense, defendants must prove by clear and convincing evidence that as a result of a severe mental disease or defect at the time of the commission of their offense, they were unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of their acts. This is also known as the M’Naghten rule, which focuses on the defendant’s ability to distinguish right from wrong at the time of committing a crime. California also adopted the M’Naghten rule in determining defendant’s legal insanity for purposes of a criminal trial.
This office handles all aspects related to defending murder charges in state and federal courts in San Diego County. For a free consultation, contact us at (619) 232-5122 or: [email protected]
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