Jared Lee Loughner should face justice for murdering six people and wounding 14 others. But the government’s decision to forcefully medicate the spree killer into some semblance of sanity so that he can stand trial in a criminal court is reprehensible. Loughner was not medicated at the time of the crime. To dope-up Loughner now and present the killer to a jury as a man who could separate right from wrong and understood the consequences of his actions is a sham. It would lead the jury’s attention away from Jared’s unintentional but nonetheless mission critical co-conspirators: the Pima County Sheriff’s Office (who knew of Loughner’s erratic behavior), Pima Community College (ditto) and the ATF (who received a heads-up on a dangerous person who might be armed) . . .
Clearly, the feds want to create a show trial to avenge the grievous head injury sustained by U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords during the attack. They want Loughner to get the needle, rather than languish in the nuthouse. And the feds are willing to run roughshod over Loughner’s legal rights to do it.
Not that they’ll admit it. Prosecutors claim Loughner’s being force-fed meds by his jailers for his own good. ‘Cause of what other prisoners might do to him. Hang on; why can’t they just leave Jared Lee Loughner in solitary confinement?
Prison officials began forcibly medicating Loughner after concluding at an administrative hearing that he posed a danger at the prison . . .
Loughner was first forcibly medicated between June 21 and July 1, but an appeals court temporarily halted the medications after defense lawyers objected.
The forced medication resumed July 19 after prison officials concluded Loughner’s psychological condition was deteriorating, noting he had been pacing in circles near his cell door, screaming and crying for hours at a time.
Defense lawyers have repeatedly asked Burns and a federal appeals court to halt the forced medications.
Loughner’s medications include the sedative Lorazepam, the antidepressant Wellbutrin and Risperidone, a drug used for people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe behavior problems.
So how’s that working out? If the beginning of the above report from abc.go.com is anything to go by, not so well . . .
[Prison Dr. Christina] Pietz said that when Loughner first arrived at the Missouri facility, he was convinced Giffords was dead, even though he was shown a video of the shooting.
“He believed it had been edited” by law enforcement, Pietz said.
Now that the 23-year-old is being forcibly medicated with psychotropic drugs, “he knows that she (Giffords) is alive.”
“He is less obsessed with that,” Pietz testified. “He understands that he has murdered people. He talks about it. He talks about how remorseful he is.”
Pietz added Loughner now makes eye contact with people and no longer has the inappropriate smirk seen at previous court hearings, which she described as a symptom of his mental illness. Burns also noted the absence of a smirk in issuing his ruling . . .
Pietz noted Loughner remains on suicide watch but is no longer having auditory hallucinations. Extending his stay at the Missouri facility by eight months will give him enough time to become mentally fit for trial, she told the judge.
“He has already made improvements, and he has only been on medication for 60 days,” she said. “Given the progress he has made today, I have no reason to think he wouldn’t continue to make progress.”
Less than an hour into the May 25 hearing, Loughner lowered his head to within inches of the courtroom table and then lifted his head and began a rant. “Thank you for the free kill. She died in front of me. Your cheesiness,” he said, according to court transcripts.
Loughner’s “progress” could be wishful thinking on Pietz’s part. The prison Doc certainly has skin in the game. She’s already gained fame from her encounters with Loughner. A book deal is sure to follow. A babbling, incoherent Loughner doesn’t make such good copy.
Sorry for being so cynical. I also apologize for standing up for the legal rights of a man who deserves to die. But the government is [potentially] a far more dangerous enemy than the Jared Lee Loughners of this world. If the feds are allowed to medicate citizens against their will and dress it up as kindness or justice, who knows what further abuses they’d cheerfully consider? Just sayin’ . . .