Jared Loughner's attorney entered a plea of not guilty Monday in federal court. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/bloombberries/Flickr)

Jared Lee Loughner, accused 22-year-old Tucson shooter, went before a federal judge Monday in Phoenix, reports The Arizona Republic. Clad in an orange jump suit and shackled by the wrists to belly chains, Loughner’s displays of bizarre behavior in court seemed to suggest that a not guilty by reason of insanity plea was forthcoming, yet such was not the case. Defense attorney Judy Clarke asked U.S. District Judge Larry Burns to enter a plea of merely “not guilty” for her client.

Loughner’s plea punctuated by smirks, laughter

Courtroom sources indicate that Jared Loughner alternated between scrunching his face and laughing openly to unknown stimuli as the arraignment hearing commenced. Discussion of Loughner’s competence to stand trial has not been addressed so far by Clarke.

Loughner is being charged with one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, as well as two counts of attempted murder of federal employees Pam Simon and Ron Barber. In addition, Assistant U.S. Attorney Wallace Kleindienst told Judge Burns that further charges against Loughner are anticipated in 30 days to address the murders of U.S. District Judge John Roll and Giffords aide Gabe Zimmerman.

Lawyers agreed to waive the reading of those charges during Monday’s arraignment hearing.

Loughner returns to court March 9

Jared Loughner will return to court in either Tucson or Phoenix for a status conference. The primary agenda at that time will be to set dates for Loughner’s trial.

If convicted, Loughner could face the death penalty for the murder of federal employees as well as the murders of civilians Phyllis Schneck, Dorwin Stoddard, Dorothy Morris and Christina Taylor Green. For reasons of bias, all Arizona federal judges recused themselves from the Tucson shooting case. Judge Burns traveled from San Diego to Phoenix into order to preside over the Loughner case.


The Arizona Republic: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/01/24/20110124giffords-shooting-loughner-pleads-not-guilty.html
Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-jared-loughner-hearing-20110125,0,7260693.story

What FOX News thought of a potential Loughner insanity plea


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