Appeals court hears Loughner medication arguments

PHOENIX (AP) - A federal appeals court panel is considering whether federal prison officials can resume forcibly giving anti-psychotic medication to the suspect in the Tucson shooting rampage.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Thursday afternoon from federal prosecutors and Jared Lee Loughner's defense lawyers. It isn't known when a ruling will be issued.

The same three judges ordered the medication halted late last week after an emergency appeal by Loughner's lawyers.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ruled last week doctors at the federal prison in Springfield, Mo., could medicate Loughner after determining he was a danger.

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

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