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July 8, 2011

Ninth Circuit puzzling over whether Tucson shooter Jared Loughner can be forcibly medicated

The new piece posted at the WSJ Law Blog, headlined "Government Still Not Cleared to Forcibly Medicate Jared Loughner," provides a good account of the on-going legal debate over the treatment of the Tucson shooter. Here are excerpts:

We thought it was settled that prison officials could forcibly medicate Tucson gunman Jared Loughner, who is accused of shooting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others earlier this year.   A federal judge last month upheld an earlier decision by prison officials to force Loughner to take anti-psychotic drugs in an effort to try to render him mentally fit to stand trial for the shootings.

But the 9th Circuit late last week halted the forced medication, and yesterday a three-judge panel of the court expressed skepticism that prison officials were legally entitled to administer drugs involuntarily without first getting court clearance, WSJ reports.

The battle over medicating Loughner, who has been diagnosed as a schizophrenic, will be a key factor in determining whether he ever stands trial.  At yesterday’s 9th Circuit hearing, government lawyer Christina Cabanillis said that under a Supreme Court decision, federal prison officials can make a medication decision on their own when they determine that someone in their custody is a danger to himself or others, WSJ reports.

But 9th Circuit judges drew a distinction between a convicted inmate, who was the subject of the Supreme Court decision, and a pretrial detainee, such as Loughner, who has the presumption of innocence. 

“Why should someone presumptively innocent not be treated with greater personal deference” than an inmate, asked Judge Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the 9th Circuit....

Whether a person is an inmate or a pre-trial detainee, Cabanillis countered, “when you are dangerous in a prison setting, you are dangerous.”  

The 9th Circuit is expected to rule soon.

July 8, 2011 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

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The lawyer took over psychiatry in 1976. There was no abuse prior to that SC decision. If there were any psychiatric abuses, the remedies were swift and Draconian against any acting in bad faith, including potential criminal charges. The reason? Generate jobs for 3 lawyers each time a patient needs care, a prosecutor, a defense lawyer, and a buffoon in the middle to decide on a matter he knows nothing about, mental illness. Now Loughner qualifies for care after killing. And still, despite fulfilling all criteria for involuntary treatment set out by the SC, false controversy is generated.

The result of the lawyer take over of psychiatry? 30,000 suicides, and 2000 murders by paranoids schizophrenics each year, by mostly untreated mental patients, 10 times those numbers in injured members of the public, $billions in lost productivity and medical costs, in total disregard for the begging by family members of that buffoon in the middle, that treatment be granted .

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 10, 2011 12:44:08 AM

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