Judge: Prison can forcibly medicate Tucson shooting suspect

Posted June 29, 2011, at 9:11 p.m.

A judge ruled Wednesday that prison officials can forcibly give the Tucson shooting rampage suspect anti-psychotic drugs in a bid to make him mentally fit for trial. U.S. District Judge Larry Burns’ decision came after Jared Lee Loughner’s attorneys filed an emergency request last week to prevent any forced medication of their client without approval from a judge. The judge said he did not want to second guess doctors at the federal prison in Springfield, Mo., who determined that Loughner was a danger. Defense attorneys said Loughner had been forcibly medicated since June 21. “I have no reason to disagree with the doctors here,” Burns said. “They labor in this vineyard every day.” Loughner, who was not at the hearing in San Diego, has been at the Missouri facility since May 28 after the judge concluded he was mentally unfit to stand trial and help in his legal defense. Mental health experts had determined the 22-year-old college dropout suffers from schizophrenia and will try to make him psychologically fit to stand trial. He will spend up to four months at the facility. A prison administrative hearing about his medication was held on June 14 and found that Loughner was a danger to himself. Prosecutors say Loughner was repeatedly encouraged to attend the hearing, but refused to participate.

The judge had twice denied requests by Loughner’s attorneys to be given notice before their client is drugged. Prosecutors have argued that Loughner should be given anti-psychotic drugs because he has been diagnosed as schizophrenic and poses a danger to others. “This is a person who is a ticking time bomb,” prosecutor Wallace Kleindienst said Wednesday … Turns out Wild Thing’s fastball had a little extra juice. Actor Charlie Sheen tells Sports Illustrated in its latest issue that he took steroids “for like six or eight weeks” while filming the 1989 movie “Major League.” He adds that the performance-enhancing drugs helped his fastball go from 79 mph to 85 mph. Sheen played fireballing relief pitcher Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn, whose wayward pitches were often “jussst a bit outside,” as Bob Uecker’s character, radio broadcaster Harry Doyle, sarcastically announced during the hit comedy. Sheen, who has made recent headlines for erratic behavior and his firing from the show “Two and a Half Men,” says it was the only time he took steroids and they made him a bit more irritable than normal.

 

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