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Court: Loughner can refuse anti-psychotic medication

Prison officials cannot continue to forcibly medicate Arizona shooting suspect Jared Loughner, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.
Court: Loughner can refuse anti-psychotic medication

PHOENIX (CBS/AP) - Federal prison officials must temporarily stop forcing anti-psychotic drugs on the man accused of wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a deadly shooting rampage, an appeals court has ruled.

The brief order from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came late Friday after Jared Lee Loughner's attorneys appealed a ruling allowing his medication to continue.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns in San Diego ruled last week that he didn't want to second-guess doctors at the federal prison in Springfield, Mo., who determined Loughner was a danger and needed to be medicated.

Loughner has been at the facility since May 28 after Burns concluded he was mentally unfit to help in his legal defense. His attorneys say he has been forcibly medicated since June 21.

The 22-year-old college dropout has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges in the Jan. 8 rampage that killed six and wounded 13, including Giffords.

One of the victims gravely injured in the shooting, Ron Barber, returned to work for the first time Tuesday, sharing tears, hugs and memories of those who didn't survive.

Barber, 65 and a high-ranking Giffords staff member, has spent the past six months undergoing extensive physical therapy and trying to cope with the trauma of the shooting and loss of friends. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and has been haunted by nightmares and vivid memories of that day.

Barber was shot in the cheek and thigh. The shooting killed his colleague, Gabe Zimmerman, and John Roll, Barber's college buddy and a federal judge.

"I'll never forget the congresswoman being shot. I'll never forget Gabe dying beside me," Barber told The Associated Press. "John was standing beside me and I was the last person to speak to him ... Those are the memories that were with me when I woke up this morning. Those are the thoughts that just keep going through my head."

The tearful Barber, still walking with a cane, returned to his job as district director at Giffords' Tucson office on a part-time basis as he continues rehab and dealing with fatigue, pain and sorrow. He walked in slowly with his wife Nancy by his side as a crowd of co-workers cheered.

The appeals court temporary halted Loughner's forcible medication while it considers arguments from prosecutors and the defense on whether it should be allowed. It set a tight schedule for legal briefings, ordering federal prosecutors to file a reply by 5 p.m. Tuesday and Loughner's team to file a response by close of business Wednesday.

A message left for lead Loughner attorney Judy Clarke wasn't immediately returned Tuesday. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Phoenix had no immediate comment.

Prosecutors have said in court papers that Loughner spit on his own attorney, lunged at her and had to be restrained by prison staff April 4. They also mentioned an outburst during a March 28 interview with a mental health expert in which Loughner became enraged, cursed at her and threw a plastic chair at her twice.