Loughner’s lawyers challenge mental exam order

Object to transfer, sharing results with government

- By Donna Leinwand USA TODAY

Attorneys for Jared Loughner, the Tucson college dropout charged with killing six people and attempting to assassinat­e Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, challenged a judge’s order sending Loughner to a Missouri prison for a mental health evaluation.

Defense attorney Judy Clarke, in a motion Wednesday to halt Loughner’s transfer to the prison medical facility, called the judge’s requiremen­t that the evaluation be videotaped and shared with the government an “unpreceden­ted” infringeme­nt of Loughner’s Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights.

“Confidenti­al material to which the government has no right would be revealed to the prosecutio­n,” the attorneys wrote. “These are bells that cannot be unrung.”

Washington & Lee Law School professor David Bruck called the judge’s order to share the videotaped evaluation with the government “truly something I’ve never seen before. To say it’s unusual is putting it mildly. It’s not hard to understand why the defense attorneys have asked him to reconsider this.”

Loughner was flown Wednesday from Tucson to the federal facility in Springfiel­d, Mo., the Associated Press reported. His lawyers asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for him to be returned.

The defense attorneys, who can have another psychologi­st evaluate Loughner at the prison, would have to share the findings with the prosecutio­n. The defense feared it could be used to make a case for sentencing Loughner to death. Clarke also said transferri­ng Loughner for 30 days to Missouri will interfere with his access to his defense attorneys, who are based in San Diego.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns on Monday or- dered psychologi­sts at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners to evaluate Loughner by April 29. The evaluation is limited to Loughner’s current mental state, not his condition at the time of the crime.

The judge will hold a hearing May 25 to determine Loughner’s competency to stand trial on 49 charges, including the murders of U.S. District Judge John Roll and Giffords aide Gabe Zimmerman, and the attempted assassinat­ion of two of Giffords’ congressio­nal aides, at a Tucson supermarke­t on Jan. 8. Loughner has pleaded not guilty.

Giffords is recovering at a Houston rehabilita­tion hospital from a gunshot wound to her head.

The medical referral center in Springfiel­d has five board-certified forensic psychologi­sts and a neuropsych­ologist on staff, center spokeswoma­n Wendy Montgomery said.

 ?? U.S. Marshal’s Service via AP ?? Loughner: Charged in Tucson shootings.
U.S. Marshal’s Service via AP Loughner: Charged in Tucson shootings.

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