Jared Lee Loughner needs to have his head examined ASAP, according to a federal judge. US District Judge Larry Burns ordered a psychiatric evaluation yesterday to determine whether the alleged Tucson shooter is fit to stand trial, the AP reports. The evaluation must be carried out no later than April 29 at a federal Bureau of Prisons facility in Springfield, Mo. Loughner's lawyers objected to that venue, which had been recommended by prosecutors, saying that Loughner was "seriously ill," and could be made worse by a trip to Missouri.
They also complained that moving Loughner would harm their attempts to form an attorney-client relationship, and demanded assurances that the exam wouldn't attempt to determine their client's sanity at the time of the shooting. The judge said the Springfield center was the best place for the exam, but said an independent psychiatrist would conduct it, and that it would only determine "whether the defendant is presently suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent" to stand trial. Loughner's exam, which will be videotaped, could take as little as a few days; he cannot legally be held at the Springfield facility for more than a month.