PHOENIX (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge on Wednesday ordered a hearing in the case of accused Tucson shooter Jared Loughner to hear arguments about subpoenas issued by his lawyers that may seek to shape an insanity defense.
Judge Larry Burns scheduled the hearing for August 26 at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego to hear oral arguments on a motion filed by prosecutors last week to bar the defense from issuing subpoenas not authorized by the court.
Loughner was declared in May to be mentally incompetent to stand trial on charges he killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, in a January 8 shooting rampage in Tucson.
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that dozens of subpoenas issued by Loughner’s lawyers indicated they were seeking to gather information about his relatives and ancestors in Illinois, possibly to support an insanity defense or to try to defeat the death penalty.
The upcoming hearing will also hear an emergency motion filed last week by Loughner’s lawyers seeking to block his ongoing forced medication and reconsider a request to have his treatment filmed at the Missouri hospital for federal prisoners where he is being held. A previous such request was denied.
In June, a federal judge rejected an attempt by Loughner’s attorneys to prohibit his forced medication. In July, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put Loughner’s medication on hold until attorneys could litigate an appeal of the ruling.
But the appeals court changed direction later in July and allowed Loughner’s forcible medication while the case is on appeal. Prosecutors have said Loughner poses a danger to himself and others and that his mental condition deteriorates after medication is stopped.
A hearing is scheduled in front of the 9th Circuit on August 30 in San Francisco.
Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Cynthia Johnston