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Judge OKs release of Loughner prison records to prosecutors

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Judge OKs release of Loughner prison records to prosecutors

  • U.S. Marshals Service

Records of accused Jan. 8 shooter Jared Loughner's conduct in prison can be released to the prosecution, a federal judge has ruled.

Notes kept by the Bureau of Prisons on Loughner's behavior, and "intake assessments" by two psychologists should be given to prosecutors, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ruled Tuesday.

In a court document released Wednesday, Burns denied a March 2 motion by Loughner's defense attorneys to keep the records from the prosecution.

Defense attorneys asked to court to issue "a protective order barring any BOP employee from disclosing non-public information about him to any outside agency, including the FBI and United States Attorneys Office, or any other person, with the exception of his counsel."

Defense attorneys said prison staff take notes on Loughner's behavior every 15 minutes, and have had prison psychologists examine him. The reports include Loughner's "behavior, demeanor, affect, sleeping patterns, eating habits, facial expressions, and other visual observations of him," attorneys said in a court filing.

Burns ruled that the records at issue are not privileged, and should be turned over.

The judge left open the opportunity to object to the introduction of the material at trial, if the government attempts to introduce it then.

A May 25 hearing has been set to determine Lougher's ability to understand the charges against him and participate in his defense. The hearing will not address his mental state at the time of the shootings.

In March, the 22-year-old Loughner was charged with 49 federal counts in the Jan. 8 attack that killed six and wounded 13 others. Authorities charge the shooting incident was an assassination attempt on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head.

Giffords, shot through her brain, is undergoing rehab at a Houston hospital as she recovers. The other 12 who survived being shot were released from the hospital.

Not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf by the court.

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.

Loughner was returned to a Tucson prison this week, after undergoing a competency examination in Missouri.

Loughner will likely face local charges in the shooting incident, authorities have said.

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