An artist's redering of attorney Judy Clarke and defendant Jared… (Bill Robles, Associated…)
Authorities at the Missouri prison mental hospital where Tucson shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner is detained have forced antipsychotic medication on the suspect despite an appeals court order last week, his attorneys complained in a court filing Thursday.
Defense attorneys filed an emergency motion with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for enforcement of a July 12 order that Loughner not be medicated against his will with antipsychotic drugs that could harm him.
The motion signed by Loughner's lead attorney, Judy Clarke of San Diego, also asked the court to compel the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to provide her with daily records of his treatment so that his defense team and the appeals court can monitor prison authorities' compliance with the order against involuntary medication.
Loughner, charged with 49 felony counts in the Jan. 8 shooting rampage that killed six and injured 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was deemed incompetent to stand trial by a federal judge in May and sent to the Missouri prison hospital for treatment of schizophrenia.
The 9th Circuit's order suspending forced administration of antipsychotics made clear that prison doctors could give Loughner sedatives if he was considered a danger to himself or others. But drugs were forced on the 22-year-old Monday "on an emergency basis," according to prison records provided to another federal judge. The records showed that Loughner was given a low dose of risperidone — which is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses — twice daily under threat of injection with a powerful antipsychotic drug if he refused the oral medication, the defense lawyers said.
Government lawyers seeking to prosecute Loughner had no role in the prison's decision to treat him, said Robert Sherwood, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Tucson.
A call to the prison hospital in Springfield, Mo., wasn't answered.