PCC releases Loughner files

2011-07-13T00:00:00Z 2011-08-03T00:32:39Z PCC releases Loughner filesKelly Hultgren For The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 13, 2011 12:00 am  • 

Pima Community College released documents Tuesday that show how the college interacted with Jared Lee Loughner in the months before the mass shooting Jan. 8 in Tucson.

The documents, which reveal little that wasn't already known, include Loughner's suspension notice, signed by Stella Bay, the college's chief of police.

Loughner was immediately suspended on Sept. 30 after violating the school's code of conduct by disrupting classes and by posting a rambling YouTube video on Sept. 23 in which he called PCC a "genocide school."

An Oct. 7 memo to Loughner from Darla Zirbes, vice president of student development, recapped her Oct. 4 meeting with Loughner and his parents.

In the meeting, Loughner chose to withdraw from his classes instead of meeting again to evaluate whether he violated the code, the memo shows.

The college accepted Loughner's withdrawal and waived further judgment of violations. But if Loughner had wanted to return, he was required to obtain a mental-health clearance. He also was banned from college property and college-related events.

The documents were released in response to an order last week by Pima County Superior Court Judge Stephen C. Villarreal. The judge agreed with attorneys for Phoenix Newspapers Inc. that the documents were not covered by the Family Education and Rights Protection Act.

"It shouldn't have required a lawsuit for Pima Community College to comply with its duty with the Public Records Law, and it resulted in the disclosure of hundreds of pages that shed light on how this college discharged its duties in the weeks and months prior to the worst public massacre in anyone's memory," said David Bodney, an attorney for Phoenix Newspapers.

"Individuals can draw their own conclusions on how the college handled the situation."

The documents released Tuesday were among more than 8,500 pages of emails and other written communications about Loughner. Most were dated after the shooting Jan. 8 that killed six and wounded 13 others, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Also, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Loughner has the constitutional right to refuse antipsychotic medication while his lawyers appeal the treatment prescribed by prison mental-health authorities.

The government has important interests in seeing Loughner healed of his schizophrenia and brought to trial for the shooting rampage, the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted.

But Loughner's right to be free from unwanted drugs that could harm or kill him trumps those considerations, the court said in extending its July 1 temporary order against forcible medical treatment.

"Because Loughner has not been convicted of a crime, he is presumptively innocent and is therefore entitled to greater constitutional rights than a convicted inmate," said the appeals panel headed by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski.

The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report. Kelly Hultgren is a University of Arizona student who is apprenticing at the Star. Contact her at starapprentice@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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