Judge Postpones Loughner Trial By Four Months
Monday, February 6, 2012
A federal judge in San Diego today gave prison doctors four more months to try to restore the mental competency of a man charged with fatally shooting six people and wounding then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and a dozen others in Arizona last year.
U.S. District Judge Larry Burns, who is presiding over the case against 23-year-old Jared Loughner, extended the hospital stay because the psychologist treating the defendant said he is making "measurable progress" with treatment designed to get him competent to stand trial.
Loughner faces a 49-count federal indictment stemming from the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting spree outside a market in Tucson. Giffords, who was shot in the head, resigned from Congress last month after a year of recovery.
Last May, Burns declared Loughner mentally incompetent to stand trial and the defendant was sent to the prison in Springfield, Mo.
Since then, Loughner's attorneys have fought the government's efforts to medicate him with anti-psychotic drugs.
If the defendant regains his mental competency, the criminal case against him can be reinstated.