A federal appeals court has ruled that prison officials must temporarily stop administering anti-psychotic medication to Jared Lee Loughner, who is charged in the Arizona shooting that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.
Prison officials at the Bureau of Prisons had ordered the drugs as part of Loughner's treatment for mental illness. Lawyers for Loughner challenged the order.
While a lower court ruled that Loughner could be medicated, a panel of judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief order on Friday that temporarily blocked the involuntary medication until both sides had a chance to brief the court on the issue. The court asked for briefs by Wednesday evening.
Those killed in the Jan. 8 shooting rampage included 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green and U.S. District Judge John Roll. Loughner was tackled and disarmed at the scene by bystanders, and has since been charged in a 49-count federal indictment.
Loughner has been undergoing treatment at a government mental facility in Springfield, Mo.
In May Loughner was found mentally incompetent to stand trial for the shooting rampage in Tucson. In court Loughner had yelled, "Thank you for the freak show." "She died in front of me." And, "You're treasonous." He was removed from the courtroom.
Loughner, 22, who has delusions and hallucinations, is paranoid schizophrenic, according to mental health professionals. Loughner's mental health evaluation also found that he had an "irrational" distrust of his lawyers.
Prosecutors said they hoped Loughner would become mentally competent enough to stand trial.
Loughner's mental health has been a subject of speculation since the shootings, remarked on by former friends and classmates, as well as by the police at Pima Community College, where he was a student.