A U.S. district judge based in San Diego has been assigned to preside over the federal case of Jared Lee Loughner, the suspect in Saturday's fatal shooting of federal Judge John M. Roll and the wounding of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals assigned Judge Larry Alan Burns to the case because all the judges in the District of Arizona recused themselves based on their connection to Roll.
Loughner was charged Sunday with one federal count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the federal government - Roll and Gabe Zimmerman, a Giffords aide - and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee - two other aides who were wounded.
He will face state charges pertaining to the other victims in the case, including Christina-Taylor Green, 9, although Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall is looking into charging Loughner in state court with charges pertaining to the civil servants.
Burns was appointed to the federal bench in 2003 by President George W. Bush, according to a news release from United States Courts for the 9th Circuit. Before that, he was a U.S. magistrate judge, assistant U.S. attorney and San Diego County prosecutor.
Burns has handled a number of high-profile cases. He presided over the prosecutions of former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., on bribery charges, and drug cartel leader Javier Arellano-Felix. He also handled the challenge to the presence of a cross on Mount Soledad in La Jolla, Calif.
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