PHOENIX (AP) — A psychologist believes that the suspect in the Tucson shooting rampage that left then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords wounded has an improved mental state but remains incompetent to stand trial, a federal judge said in a court filing Thursday.

U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns scheduled a hearing for Monday in San Diego to determine whether Jared Lee Loughner should remain at a federal prison facility in Springfield, Mo., where officials have been forcibly medicating him.

Loughner, 23, has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges stemming from the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting in Tucson that killed six people and injured Giffords and 12 others. Giffords resigned from Congress last month and continues to recover from a gunshot wound to the head.

Loughner has demonstrated bizarre behavior since his arrest. He was removed from a May 25 court hearing when he lowered his head to within inches of the courtroom table then lifted his head and began a loud and angry rant.

Mental health experts have determined Loughner suffers from schizophrenia and are trying to make him fit to stand trial. Loughner has been at the Missouri facility since May 28, and his attorneys have vigorously fought the government’s efforts to medicate him with psychotropic drugs.

An appeals court temporarily halted Loughner’s forced medication last summer, but the medication resumed once mental health experts at the prison concluded that his condition was deteriorating further.

After a Sept. 28 court hearing, Burns extended Loughner’s detention in Missouri by another four months. His current stay is set to end on Feb. 8.

Burns said the court received a competency report on Jan. 30 from Dr. Christina Pietz, who is Loughner’s chief psychologist.

“In Dr. Pietz’s opinion, the defendant remains incompetent to stand trial, in particular because he lacks an adequate understanding of the nature and consequences of the charges against him,” Burns wrote. “Dr. Pietz does, however, believe that the defendant has made measurable progress toward competency and that his mental state will continue to improve.”

But Burns added that “the court’s inclination is to extend the defendant’s commitment by another four months.” The judge also said that Loughner shouldn’t be transported from Missouri for Monday’s hearing.

A call to Loughner’s lead attorney, Judy Clarke, for comment on Burns’ filing wasn’t immediately returned Thursday evening.

If the two sides can’t agree to a treatment extension for Loughner, Burns said he would hear any objections and schedule a more substantive evidentiary hearing if needed.

Tucson-based prosecutors said in a filing late Thursday that they had “no additional evidence to offer” on the extension request and asked the court to proceed with adding another 120 days to Loughner’s commitment at the Missouri facility.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (4)
  1. Observer974 says:

    Well, he’s a Democrat! Of course he’s incompetent.

    1. Mii says:

      Too much hysteria. Did we learn oihtnng from the L.A. riots and 9/11? How much time did you purposely spend away from your media after this? Are you watching all the crying relatives? Are you allowing yourself to pry into their pain via your tv or phone? When something dramatic happens, we do have a natural tendency to want to witness the spectacle. But there has to be a point where you realize you have to turn off the media and let your mind process the information. You then have to be prepared to tune back in, but with focus: You want to learn the Who, What, Why, When, Where and How. When you realize that you’re getting more crying relatives and no pertinent information, Turn Off Your Media. Studies have shown that the more attached to various media people are after an event of major public trauma, the more hysterical they tend to become. The hysteria rises in proportion to the amount of media you indulge. Turn it off. Listen for facts, for spin, for slips of logic or of secrecy, but refuse to participate in the Drama. Think.It doesn’t help that this writer is pulling a Fox News: Loughner listed Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto, yet this writer left the second book out; here’s one of our own who’s omitting the inconvenient in order to stoke the fires. If we do it, how can we criticize them?What we need, on the Left, are ideas. The Right has lots of them, mostly about how to get far less educated conservatives riled and fearful, and then exploit that fear to get people elected who will be able to abolish taxes and regulations for the rich and corporations, and benefits and decent wages for working people. Make the rich richer. My mom is one of them. She lives on a federal pension my dad earned, yet turns around and denounces socialism. The new congress wants to do away with public sector pensions and high wages, but Mom won’t see it. It’s not her, it’s the minorities and the immigrants. They’re going to go after the minorities and the immigrants. No, mom, they’re coming after you. She won’t hear it. She’s supporting people who are going to do away with her primary income and leave them with their social security and savings, and she won’t believe it. Her arguments aren’t even logical they’re all Fox catch phrases and buzz words What about the small businessman with 3 employees? George Soros! Wealth is a [liberal] code word for Conservative! . The fact is, we can’t waste time arguing with the Right any more than we can waste time arguing with religious conservatives, evangelicals and biblical literalists. The argument can’t be won. What we need to do is concentrate on the much larger and still receptive Middle, the moderates. We need to reach and convince them that Left is better than Right, more productive, better for the future, better for the planet, better all the way around. To do that we need ideas. We need to make better arguments for things like closing Guantanamo our system IS up to the challenge. And for creating new green and sustainable industries. An end to the car as primary transportation. We need to be able to convince people that fixing the planet does not involve a sacrifice at this point, it most certainly will in the near future but more of a trade up. Less meat, but better quality meat. Less junk, better stuff. Quality stuff, not disposable stuff. A reusable, recyclable, compostable society not a throw away culture. That the Right is so successful has more to do with the absence of any credible Left than anything else. The Right has convinced white America that the pie is running out and that the immigrants and minorities have taken more than their share. But the pie is not running out, it’s not even a pie in the first place it’s more of a river that has been diverted for various reasons, mostly because no one was paying attention, and few were willing to stand up to the diversion. Maybe this killer was anti-semitic. It looks more like he was plain and simple crazy. He’s finished, but my Mom and my Aunt are still out there, unarmed, somewhat unhinged, and angry about all those minorities and immigrants who took their share of the pie. While you’re worrying about whether or not a psycho was anti-semitic, my aunt and my mother, and millions of angry white people like them are helping the Republicans undermine the Republic. Less media. Less hysteria. More thinking. Lots more ideas.

  2. Armaan says:

    I have a question: are you siynag that people should NOT talk about shooting people (as the Dem Senator did in your quote), or use gun imagery (like the Daily Kos posting pointed out earlier in FA), or call people “the enemy”, as Obama referred to GOPer cons as “the enemy” of Latinos? Are you siynag that doing those things are wrong?Part of what I am doing (and perhaps mostly) is pointing the galactic hypocrisy of the left. If one is going to partcipate in such verbiage, one must accept the same from others.Without whining and blaming.Inflammatory rhetoric has been part of political fabric for as long as there has been a Republic.If you are siynag that it is wrong to do such things, then you are tacitly admitting that GOPer cons doing the same thing is wrong. Because GOPers have done the exact same things that I just listed . . . only it was a Dem congresswoman who was shot after the GOPers put her district in cross-hairs (or “bulls-eye”, as Palin called it), not a GOPer after the DNC did the same thing.I am siynag no such thing. And as I have shown, the rhetoric had absolutely nothing to do with the shooting.And therein lies the problem for cons: if cons had spewed much violent imagery and no one got hurt, then you could argue that the libs were full of it for challenging you on it. But . . . that ain’t what happened, now was it? Your argument is faulty. You position yourself as the fallen snow, all white and sweet.That ain’t what is.You have vanquished your man of straw, though. Well done.Reply

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