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Judge: Loughner to stay in Missouri for psych exam

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Judge: Loughner to stay in Missouri for psych exam

  • Loughner
    U.S. Marshals ServiceLoughner

Accused mass shooter Jared Lee Loughner must remain in Missouri to undergo a mental evaluation, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns denied a motion by defense attorneys to reconsider his order to send Loughner to a federal facility in Springfield, Mo., to determine his competency to stand trial.

In court documents filed Thursday, Burns ruled that videotapes of the examination should be provided to both the prosecution and defense, that the results of any exam by the defense should be provided to the prosecution, and that the exam should be conducted in at the Bureau of Prisons Medical Referral Center in Missouri.

Loughner's attorneys have already appealed Burns' initial order, made Monday, to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Loughner was sent to Missouri on Wednesday, Thomas Henman, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service confirmed.

The compentency exam is meant to determine if Loughner is fit for trial, not his sanity at the time of the shooting, Burns' order said Monday:

The question at issue is whether the defendant is presently suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him, or to assist properly in his defense.... The scope of the examination shall accordingly be limited to whether Mr. Loughner is presently competent to stand trial; the examination shall not focus on the defendant's sanity at the time of the alleged offense, nor shall the examination purposefully attempt to explore potential aggravating or mitigating sentencing factors in this case.

The defense objected to the transfer to Missouri, saying that Loughner should be examined in Tucson. They also asked the appeals court to block the Bureau of Prisons from providing videotapes of the examinations to the prosecution, saying that would violate Loughner's Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights.

"The defense interests at stake include the ability to maintain the attorney-client relationship and ensure access to counsel, the privilege against compelled self-incrimination, and the right to maintain the confidentiality of defense work-product," the defense said in a motion.

Earlier this month, the court entered a not guilty plea on Loughner's behalf on the 49 federal counts he faces. The 22-year-old is charged with killing 6 and wounding 13 others, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, at a Jan. 8 constituent meet and greet at a Northwest Side grocery store.

Giffords, who was shot through the brain, is undergoing rehab at a Houston facility.

Fourteen of the charges Loughner faces could result in the death penalty, if the prosecution seeks it. No decision of whether to ask for capital punishment has been made, authorities have said.

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