Judge orders Loughner mental exam in Missouri

PHOENIX (AP) — A federal judge on Monday ordered the suspect in the January shooting rampage in Tucson to undergo a mental evaluation at a specialized facility in Missouri as soon as possible.

The evaluation will be videotaped and provided to prosecutors and defense attorneys, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said in his late Monday ruling. The judge also ordered that the exam be conducted no later than April 29, and that findings be reported to the court and attorneys on both sides by May 11.

Prosecutors had argued that Jared Lee Loughner’s exam should be conducted at a so-called medical referral center that provides forensic services and has increased resources, and recommended the federal Bureau of Prisons facility in Springfield, Mo.

Medical referral centers use psychiatrists employed by the bureau.

Loughner’s lawyers have said the exam should be done by an outside expert, not by a Bureau of Prisons employee, at a Tucson prison. They also wanted assurances that the evaluation doesn’t expand into a review of their client’s sanity.

Lead defense attorney Judy Clarke wrote in a court filing last week that moving Loughner would harm the defense team’s efforts to develop an attorney-client relationship. The defense also was concerned that Loughner is “seriously ill,” and that moving him to Missouri could worsen his state.


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