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Appeals courts grapples with whether to suspend forced medication of Tucson rampage suspect
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ' Can prison officials forcefully medicate Jared Lee Loughner, the man charged in the Tucson shooting rampage?
On Tuesday, three judges of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco took up this difficult legal question during a special hearing that lasted longer than usual arguments.
Prison officials have wide latitude in forcing medication on prisoners who have been convicted and are serving sentences. But since Loughner has pleaded not guilty and is presumed innocent, the question is a murky one.
Loughner is currently being forcefully medicated, but wants the treatments stopped. Federal prison officials say Loughner is a danger to himself and other prisoners if his schizophrenia isn't treated with drugs.
The court didn't rule and gave little indication the direction it was leaning.