Court: Loughner Can Refuse Meds

No forced medication for Tucson suspect while appeal is pending
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2011 4:45 AM CDT
Prison authorities argued that Loughner needed to be treated with antipsychotic drugs because he is a danger to prison staff and to himself.   (AP Photo/U.S. Marshal's Office, File)
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(Newser) – Jared Lee Loughner's right to refuse antipsychotic medication trumps the federal government's interest in making him sane enough to stand trial for the Tucson shootings in which Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was injured, an appeals court has decided. The court ruled that its injunction against forcibly medicating Loughner should stay in place until his appeal of the treatment prescribed by prison authorities has run its course, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"Because Loughner has not been convicted of a crime, he is presumptively innocent and is therefore entitled to greater constitutional rights than a convicted inmate," the appeals panel wrote. The ruling permits prison authorities to use other measures, including the forced administration of tranquilizers, to maintain the safety of prison staff and Loughner himself. His next hearing is on August 29.

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