Could Jared Loughner Escape a Prison Sentence?

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JB Books

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On a related note, Judy Clarke, who represented the Unabomber, Zacharis Mousarri, Susan Smith and the Olympic Bomber, is going to represent this guy.


Jared Lee Loughner, the 22-year-old suspect charged with the attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a rampage that killed six people and wounded 13 others, might never see the inside of a prison cell, according to experts.

"A defense lawyer is going to point to his history," Steve Cron, a veteran criminal defense attorney from Santa Monica, Calif., told AOL News. "They'll say the acts he is accused of committing would have obviously been done by someone who is insane."

The shootings occurred Saturday outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket where Giffords was meeting with constituents. Loughner allegedly opened fire at the rally, hitting the 40-year-old congresswoman in the head. Giffords remains hospitalized in intensive care at University Medical Center in Tucson.

Loughner faces federal murder and attempted murder charges.

The history of behavior Cron alludes to stems from interviews the media has conducted with Loughner's friends and associates, as well as bizarre videos and comments he reportedly posted on the Internet. In the videos and postings, he allegedly discussed mind control, establishing a new currency and grievances he had against Pima Community College in Tucson. The college suspended him in October and told him he could not return until he got a mental health evaluation.

"This trail of rambling, half-crazed comments he supposedly left on Internet websites, and the fact that he got kicked out of school for disruptive behavior, will be brought up in court," Cron said. "A defense lawyer is going to look at it and say this is a troubled and disoriented guy who doesn't know what he is doing."

Loughner has not made a statement to authorities since his arrest. As a result, news stories have been abuzz with thoughts on possible motives, and the political blame game has already begun. According to Dr. Park Dietz, a forensics psychiatrist, the shooting has nothing to do with a heated political debate and has everything to do with the distorted thinking that accompanies mental illness.

"The real issue here has to do with the fact that serious mental illness can transform any political or religious thought into a justification for murder, assassination, mass murder and genocide," Dietz, president of Park Dietz & Associates, told AOL News.

Dietz pointed to Loughner's MySpace page, where he listed some of his favorite books, including "Brave New World," "Aesop's Fables," "The Odyssey," "Fahrenheit 451," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "We the Living," "The Phantom Tollbooth," "Siddhartha, "The Old Man and the Sea," Hitler's "Mein Kampf," "The Republic" and "The Communist Manifesto."

"This young man exposed himself to at least 'The Communist Manifesto' and 'Mein Kampf,' which I'm sure had an important effect in fueling his thoughts," Dietz said.

It's also possible the occult played a role in Loughner's mind-set. Earlier today, it was revealed that a shrine was found behind his home. According to the New York Daily News, the shrine, a camouflage tent, contained an altar with a skull and ceremonial candles, the newspaper reported.

One of Loughner's last postings on MySpace reportedly was titled "Good-bye, Friends" and said, "Dear friends, please don't be mad at me." It remains unclear if the post is connected to the shooting. If it is, Dietz said, prosecutors could ultimately use it against Loughner.

"Most of the time, even those who have a serious mental disease still know they are shooting humans and know it is illegal," Dietz said. "The post where he says goodbye reflects his awareness that he could die [during the alleged shooting spree]."

Cron agrees, but said the posting can also be used to show Loughner is insane.

"The fact that he says goodbye could mean that he's going to kill himself and he's insane, or it could mean that he is a rational person planning out this killing and expecting he will be killed in the process," Cron said. "When you are dealing with someone who is mentally unstable, lawyers can take the same bit of evidence and use it to support their view."

Cron added, "No matter what the defense lawyer says, the prosecutor is going to look at it as the brutal killing and assault of a bunch of people by a coldblooded killer."

If Loughner is ultimately found guilty, he could face the death penalty. If he is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he will be sent to a mental hospital, where he will remain until doctors determine he has regained his sanity. If that happens, he will be freed and cannot be tried a second time, Cron said.

It would not be the first time such a defense was used successfully.

In 1859, U.S. Rep. Daniel Sickles was arrested for the murder of U.S. District Attorney Philip Barton Key. (The victim was the son of Francis Scott Key, the composer of "The Star-Spangled Banner.") Key had reportedly been having an affair with Sickles' wife. When the case went to trial, Sickle's lawyer blamed the homicide on temporary insanity. The jury agreed, and Sickles was acquitted.

In 1912, a New York bartender named John Schrank shot President Teddy Roosevelt during a campaign rally in Milwaukee. Despite getting shot in the chest, Roosevelt delivered his speech before going to the hospital for treatment. Schrank reportedly told police that former President William McKinley had visited him in a dream and told him to kill Roosevelt. Doctors later deemed Schrank insane, and he was sentenced to life in a mental institution.

Sponsored LinksMore recently, in 1981 John Hinckley shot President Ronald Reagan and three others, including Reagan's press secretary, James Brady. In court, Hinckley claimed he shot Reagan out of a desire to impress actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was infatuated. He was ultimately found not guilty by reason of insanity and was sent to a psychiatric hospital. He remains housed there today.

Could the same thing happen to Loughner? Anything is possible, Cron said.

"The defense and prosecution will present their sides, and the jury will ultimately make the decision," he said.
 

Mr10mm

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I heard John Hinckley gets out to stay with his parents on overnight visits. I would have never thought a judge would let that happen. So i guess anything is possible.
 

Glocktogo

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No. He will at a very minimum, be found guilty by reason of insanity. If so, he will be sent to a mental institution for the criminally insane.
 
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