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May 17, 2011

Might Arizona mass murderer Jared Loughner be incompetent to stand trial?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this Wall Street Journal article headlined "Loughner's Mental Competence Is Doubted." The piece starts this way:

Two federal court filings Monday in the criminal case of the man accused in the January shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others in Tucson, Ariz., strongly suggest that two health professionals who evaluated his mental state have determined he isn't competent to stand trial, according to legal experts.

The filings, one by the defense and one by the prosecution, indicate that a competency hearing for Jared Loughner scheduled in a Tucson federal court for May 25 could largely be a formality. Both filings agreed that the two doctors who evaluated Mr. Loughner wouldn't need to testify. The filings also said neither side would dispute the doctors' written reports.

If these reports, which are under seal, hadn't concluded Mr. Loughner was incompetent to stand trial, the defense would almost certainly be planning to put up a fight, experts said. "My initial gut reaction would be that both have found him not competent to stand trial," said Kurt Altman, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Phoenix office who isn't involved in the case. Mr. Altman said defense lawyers wouldn't object to a finding of incompetence since it would delay Mr. Loughner's trial. Mr. Loughner could face the death penalty.

At the same time, prosecutors wouldn't be in a position to argue the findings of the two doctors, given that they pushed to have the competency exams done, say people familiar with the matter. A decision by Judge Larry Burns, who is presiding over the case, that Mr. Loughner was currently incompetent could postpone any trial of Mr. Loughner for months or even years, say legal experts.

In cases where a defendant is found incompetent to stand trial, the defendant is kept in custody until it is determined he is able to understand the charges against him and able to aid his lawyers in his own defense. Such people could be treated with drugs, possibly without their consent, legal experts said.

May 17, 2011 at 02:41 PM | Permalink

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If you like this mass murder, the murder of a beautiful little girl? Thank the Supreme Court. In 1976, they took over psychiatry, to generate jobs for lawyers. They changed the law of 100's of years, that allowed involuntary commitment for need for treatment. They required a hearing prove with clear and convincing evidence that a person had a mental illness and was dangerous to self or others. So Loughner, nor the V Tech shooter could be made to receive treatment until after their rampages. Now, they qaulify for treatment against their iwlls, after dozens had to dies.

So every mental patient must be prosecuted, defended, and decided upon by a lawyer in the middle, that's three lawyer jobs. That lawyer in the middle? Knows nothing about mental illness, yet gets to make decisions that will destroy the lives of the patient, and everyone around him.

Paranoid schizophrenics kill 2000 people a year, correct, 1 in 9 murder victims is killed by an untreated paranoid schizophrenic. Thank the rent seeking lawyers on the Supreme Court. Something has to be done about these self-dealing incompetents. Impeach them. Replace them with wine besotted, puking bums from skid row, for an instantaneous improvement in the logic of decisions, and clarity of writing.

Then they immunize crazy from the death penalty. If someone is so out of it, that is the person that is most dangerous to everyone around them, and who should be executed the soonest. Severe mental illness is the best justification for executing a murderer, his being the most dangerous of all murderers. The bum would know that. The Supreme Court does not.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 18, 2011 5:20:20 AM

I like this post because one might know about the trail.Nice share

Posted by: Atlanta Injury Lawyer | May 18, 2011 7:55:43 AM

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