Defense opposes mental exam for Loughner - KCTV5

Defense opposes mental exam for Loughner

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Legal experts say a finding that the suspect in the Tucson shooting rampage is mentally competent to stand trial may make it tougher for his lawyers to later persuade a jury to accept an insanity defense.

Attorney Mike Black, a former federal defender, says nearly everyone passes a mental competency test. The test looks at whether a person can understand and assist in their defense.

A federal judge has ordered Jared Lee Loughner to be examined, saying he's concerned about the suspect's ability to understand his court proceedings.

Prosecutors had asked for the psychological evaluation. But Loughner attorney Judy Clarke argued the request was premature. She said an evaluation would interfere with her ability to develop trust with Loughner.

Loughner pleaded not guilty Wednesday to dozens of federal charges, including trying to assassinate U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and murdering a Giffords staffer and federal judge John Roll.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

 

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