Competency Hearing Today for Jared Loughner: Tucson Shooting Suspect

Posted on May 25, 2011 in Celebrity Justice, Legislation, National Issues

News surfaced today that the competency hearing to determine whether or not Jared Loughner (the suspect in the shootings which injured AZ congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, and left another 14 wounded and 6 dead) is fit to stand trial will be held today.

Photo Courtesy of plos.org

Loughner, who is widely suspected of mental health issues based upon reports from sources close to him as well as apparently-deranged Youtube postings he created, may be deemed unfit to stand trial at this juncture. Contrary to what some believe, this does not mean that Loughner will no longer face felony murder charges or be released into the community.

When a defendant in a federal trial is determined unfit to stand trial, they are placed in the custody of a mental health institution and treated until they are fit to resume trial. Counter to popular belief, competency to stand trial only involves an individuals ability to accurately comprehended the circumstances surrounding the court proceedings at the current moment, and not at the time that the crime was committed.

If Loughner is eventually deemed fit to stand trial, it will be because it is determined that he is capable of assisting his attorneys in his defense and understands the charges against him. When the trial formally proceeds, Loughner’s attorneys will then be able to address the issue of whether or not he was insane at the time of the shooting.

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