PHOENIX — An Arizona judge ruled against the Tucson shooting rampage suspect and ordered that health records dating back to his youth can be given to a psychologist trying to determine whether he's mentally competent to stand trial.
U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said in a ruling released Wednesday that Dr. Christina Pietz should have Jared Loughner's documents from his pediatrician, a behavioral health hospital that treated him for extreme intoxication in May 2006 and an urgent care center where he was treated in 2004 for unknown reasons.
Burns said there's no basis for withholding records that may inform Pietz's opinion and ruled the records are to be given to psychiatrist Dr. Matthew Carroll if he requests them as part of Loughner's second competency exam.
Loughner is undergoing the exams at a federal facility in Springfield, Mo., in an effort to determine whether he can assist in his defense. He was flown from a federal prison in Tucson to Missouri on March 23. Carroll faces a Friday deadline for completing the second competency exam of Loughner.Story: Giffords heads to Florida for shuttle launch
Loughner has pleaded not guilty to charges from the Jan. 8 attack that killed six and wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others.
Prosecutors argued the records would be relevant in conducting a mental competency exam on Loughner. His attorneys opposed the records request and asked for an order saying the documents could only be used for determining his mental competency.
The judge said the arguments by Loughner's attorneys aren't enough to prevent the records from going to Pietz. "The court defers to her expertise and opinion that the requested medical records may inform her ultimate conclusions as to the defendant's competency," Burns wrote.
The judge also noted that he had already made assurances that the exam can't focus on Loughner's sanity at the time of the offense and that the records won't be used for purposes other than determining whether he understands the consequences of the charges he faces and can assist in his defense.
Some of the records in question center on Loughner's treatment for intoxication in May 2006.
Police had arrested Loughner on a misdemeanor charge of being a minor in possession of alcohol. He was taken from his high school to a hospital because he was drunk on vodka he had taken from his father's liquor cabinet.
Loughner's mental competency hearing is scheduled for May 25.
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