Judge Halts Forced Medication of Jared Loughner

The shooting suspect will stop receiving medication after only a few days of treatment

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A three-judge appeals court panel in San Francisco has ordered a temporary halton the forced medication of Jared Loughner until they can hear arguments for and against the treatment from lawyers. Loughner's lawyers appealed a ruling last week that would allow prison doctors to administer mind-altering psychotropic drugs to the Loughner, who is accused of shooting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, killing six and wounding 13 in January. "I defer to medical judgment," U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns said in the original ruling that doctors were within their rights to force medication on Loughner. "I have no reason to disagree with the doctors here."

Loughner's attorneys argue that the forced treatment--which has already begun--violates the 22-year-old's rights and that milder treatments should have been attempted first. The prosecution disagrees. "This is a person who is a ticking time bomb," said prosecutor Wallace Kleindienst. "He's lunged at his defense counsel and spits at her."

The panel will hear the arguments from both sides this week. Until then, it's unclear how long Loughner will be off of the medication.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.