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In a complaint against Missouri prison mental hospital, Jared Lee Loughner’s lawyers claim that authorities have forced antipsychotic medication on their client despite an appeals court order.
Defense attorneys filed an emergency motion with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for enforcement of a July 12 order that Loughner not be medicated against his will with antipsychotic medication that could harm him.
The motion signed by Loughner’s lead attorney, Judy Clarke of San Diego, Calif, also asked the court to require the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to provide her with daily records of his treatment. By doing so, his defense team and the appeals court can monitor prison authorities’ compliance with the order against involuntary medication.
Loughner was charged with 49 felony counts in the Jan 8 shooting rampage that killed six and injured 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. In May, a federal judge deemed him incompetent to stand trial. Loughner was then sent to the Missouri prison hospital for treatment of schizophrenia.
According to the 9th Circuit Court’s order of halting forced administration of antipsychotics allow prison doctors to give Loughner sedatives if he was deemed a danger to himself or others. However, drugs were forced on the inmate “on an emergency basis,” according to prison reports.
The report showed that Loughner was given a low dose of risperidone, which is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses. The drug was to be administered twice daily, under the threat of injection with a powerful antipsychotic drug if he refused the oral medication, the defense lawyers said.
Robert Sherwood of the U.S. attorney’s office in Tucson said prosecutors have no role in Loughner’s treatment in prison. However, prosecutors state that the shooter is violent in prison and needs to be forced to take medications. In papers filed to court, prosecutors noted several instances of violence including during an interview.
The interview, administered by the prison psychologist, on March 28 determined whether Loughner was competent to stand trial. During the interview, the inmate “suddenly became enraged, used foul language and hurled a plastic chair against the psychologist.”
On April 4, Loughner spat on one of his attorneys, lunged at her and had to be restrained by staff. A month later, he threw chairs in his cell.
After finding the shooter incompetent, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns asked doctors to try to restore Loughner’s mental health. But, he refused to take his antipsychotic medications.
The Associated Press reports that in court on July 21, Loughner’s attorneys questioned whether the forced medication violates the court’s order. The filings state forced medication was resumed on an “emergency basis” because prison officials said Loughner was a danger to himself.
Prison authorities say he has been on 24-hour suicide watch, even though Loughner denies having suicidal thoughts.
The appeals court’s decision will be reviewed at a hearing scheduled for Aug 29.