Jared Lee Loughner pleads guilty to Arizona shooting rampage

August 7, 2012

The Boston Herald on August 7, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. — Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty today to going on a shooting rampage at a political gathering, killing six people and wounding 13 others, including his intended target, then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Loughner’s plea spares him the death penalty and came soon after a federal judge found that months of forcibly medicating him to treat his schizophrenia had made the 23-year-old college dropout competent.

At one point, Judge Larry A. Burns asked Loughner if he understood the charges against him and what the government would need to convict him.

“Yes, I understand,” Loughner replied.

The judge said that Loughner was a different person and that he is able to help his lawyers in his defense. Burns said that observing Loughner in the court left “no question that he understands what’s happening today.”

Loughner faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The outcome was welcomed by some victims, including Giffords herself, as a way to avoid a lengthy, possibly traumatic trial and years of legal wrangling over a death sentence.

“The pain and loss caused by the events of Jan. 8, 2011, are incalculable,” Giffords said in a joint statement with her husband, Mark Kelly. “Avoiding a trial will allow us — and we hope the whole Southern Arizona community — to continue with our recovery.”

Experts had concluded that Loughner suffers from schizophrenia, and officials at a federal prison have forcibly medicated him with psychotropic drugs for more than a year.

Court-appointed pyschologist Christina Pietz testified for an hour about how she believes Loughner became competent. Loughner listened calmly without expression. His arms were crossed over his stomach, lurched slightly forward and looking straight at Pietz.

At one point, he smiled and nodded when psychologist mentioned he had a special bond with one of the prison guards.

A plea agreement offers something for both sides, said Quin Denvir, a California defense attorney who has worked with Loughner attorney Judy Clarke on the case against unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

Prosecutors would avoid a potentially lengthy and costly trial and appeal, knowing that the defendant will be locked up for life. Clarke managed to avoid the death penalty for other high-profile clients such as Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph, who bombed abortion clinics in the late 1990s and Atlanta’s Olympic park in 1996.

The top prosecutor in southern Arizona’s Pima County said last year that she may file state charges in the case that could carry the death penalty. An official in the prosecutor’s office, Amelia Craig Cramer, declined to comment, saying the office did not have an active prosecution against Loughner.

Denvir said it was possible that the plea agreement calls for the state to avoid pursuing criminal charges against Loughner, though that’s not a given.

“Ideally (as a defense attorney) you’d like to have it resolved all at once, but sometimes you have to take one at a time,” he said.

The decision to spare Loughner a federal death sentence makes sense, said Dale Baich, a federal public defender in Phoenix who handles capital case appeals and isn’t involved in the case.

“As time went on and there were numerous evaluations, I think everybody had a better understanding of Mr. Loughner’s mental illness.” Baich said.

He added: “It appears that he will need to be treated for the rest of his life in order to remain competent.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Jared Lee Loughner Case May Take Years

January 25, 2011

The man accused of carrying out the mass shooting in Tucson pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon in a Phoenix courtroom — an initial step in a case against Jared Loughner that could take years to wind its way through the criminal justice system.

Both federal and state authorities intend to prosecute Loughner in the January 8 shootings. There will also likely be proceedings over whether to move the case to a different venue, a possible insanity defense, and prosecutors’ push for the death penalty.

The Tucson man is charged with the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the attempted murder of two of her aides. He is accused of opening fire on a Giffords political event that wounded 13 people and killed six others, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl who was born on Sept. 11, 2001.

Loughner will later face state charges dealing with the other victims following the outcome of the federal case.

The case was moved to Phoenix because one of the six dead, U.S. District Judge John Roll, was based in Tucson and federal judges there recused themselves. All the federal judges in the rest of the state soon joined them, and a San Diego-based judge is now assigned to the case.

Now that Loughner has entered a plea of not guilty, the question arises whether he will claim an insanity defense.

Before the case even gets to trial, the court would have to decide whether Loughner is mentally competent to stand trial. If he isn’t, he would be sent to a federal facility for a minimum of four months to see if they can restore his competency. It could be up to a two-month wait just to get him into one of those facilities.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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