Jared Loughner Charged in Federal Court

Here's the federal complaint filed against Arizona shooting suspect Jared Loughner. An Indictment will be returned within 30 days. The U.S. Attorney's Press Release is here.

Loughner is charged with the attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing a federal officer or employee, and two counts of attempted murder of a federal officer or employee. The victims in counts 2 though 5 are Judge John Roll and Gifford staffers, Gabriel Zimmerman, Pamela Simon and Ron Barber.

As to Judge Roll being at the event in his official capacity, the Affidavit in support of the Complaint states: [More...]

On January 9,201 1, your affiant spoke with U.S. Marshal David Gonzales, who stated that the Honorable John M. Roll, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, had worked with Congresswoman Giffords within the last several months to resolve issues related to the volume of cases filed in the District of Arizona. Judge Roll was notified about Congresswoman Giffords' event telephonically on or about January 7, 2011.

Having spoken to Pia Carusone, the Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Giffords in Washington D.C., U.S. Marshal Gonzales reports that Ron Barber, a staff person for Congresswoman Giffords who was present at the event, stated that Judge Roll attended the event and sought to speak to federal cases in the District of Arizona; Judge Roll expressed his appreciation to Mr. Barber for the help and support that Congresswoman Giffords had given.

Your affiant reviewed a digital surveillance video depicting the events at the Safeway; in the video, Judge Roll is seen speaking for several minutes with Mr. Barber.

The Complaint does not charge Laughner with the other killings or shootings. The Affidavit says:

In addition to the many wounded, the other victims killed by LOUGHNER were Phyllis Schneck, Dorothy Morris, Dorwan Stoddard, and Christine Green.

This may mean Arizona will file state charges against Loughner for these other killings and injuries, probably as a capital crime, seeking the death penalty. Any decision on whether the death penalty will be sought federally will either come with the Indictment or later.

As to Congresswoman Giffords being the intended target, the Affidavit states a search warrant was executed for Loughner's residence:

Some of the evidence seized from that location included a letter in a safe, addressed to "Mr. Jared Loughner" at 774 1 N. Soledad Avenue, from Congresswoman Giffords, on Congressional stationary, dated August 30, 2007, thanking him for attending a "Congress on your Corner" event at the Foothills Mall in Tucson. Also recovered in the safe was an envelope with handwriting on the envelope stating "I planned ahead," and "My assassination" and the name "Giffords," along with what appears to be LOUGHNER's signature.

Loughner will not be represented by the Federal Defender's office because of the connection to Judge Roll. The Defender's Office is seeking to find counsel for him.

It's now been determined Loughner acted alone. The other man being sought by authorities has been cleared. He was a cab-driver who drove Loughner to the Safeway store.

Loughner will make his first court appearance Monday at 2:00 p.m.

< Gun Control Laws Are Not The Answer | Former Federal Defender Judy Clarke to Represent Jared Loughner >
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  • Display: Sort:
    CNN reports Judy Clarke, federal public (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 06:04:50 PM EST
    defender who represented the Unabomber, will repres. Loughner.  link

    Absolutely the best. (none / 0) (#9)
    by Peter G on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 06:13:52 PM EST
    Judy Clarke -- a past President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers -- is just a fabulous lawyer, and specializes in representing the most hated people charged with the most inexplicable and apparently heinous crimes, often when facing the death penalty.  And she's as a funny, engaging human being, to boot.

    and the question is ... (1.00 / 1) (#13)
    by nyrias on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 10:52:30 AM EST
    why is she wasting her time on a killer, who is so obviously guilty and will never see a day of freedom again ....

    instead of tackling cases where the accused may be innocent?

    Saving ONE innocent person is way more important than wasting time on this animal.


    If you read this site regularly (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Peter G on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 11:17:54 AM EST
    you may learn what criminal defense lawyers do, and why we do it.  If you're actually interested in learning, that is. Giving the best defense (which is not only about innocence or guilt) to everyone, including if not especially to those accused of the most heinous crimes, is not a waste of time.

    why? (none / 0) (#15)
    by nyrias on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 11:35:15 AM EST
    I define "a waste of time" by whether the outcome can be substantially changed.

    Having fun debating in court does not count. In this case, there is no issue of guilt. There is no doubt that this guy will never see a day of freedom.

    If the death penalty is not in play, there is nothing a defense lawyer can really do, except looking good in front of the tv.

    So answer me this .. when u r not trying to save some animal's life (assuming the death penalty is not in-play), is there anything the defense can change when the crime is really heinous (i.e. the convicted will never leave prison) and guilt is not in doubt (like in this case)?


    There is considerable virtue (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 11:58:53 AM EST
    in holding the Government to its evidence each and every time.

    Only when the .. (none / 0) (#17)
    by nyrias on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 12:31:09 PM EST
    evidence is not so obvious.

    It takes a total of 10 min, in THIS CASE, to convince any reasonable person that this guy is indeed the person who killed.

    How much money is going to be spent on something so obvious?

    Is the defense lawyer going to spend her expensive time cross examining every single witness on the scene.

    What can she possibly find to contradict a guilty verdict?

    Surely in some cases, yeah, challenging the evidence is not only a virtue, but a must. But not in this case, and not to the evidence that is relevant to the guilt of this man.


    Who decides when it's not worth it? (none / 0) (#18)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 12:52:16 PM EST
    Not me, and not you. The defendant alone gets to make that call.

    Not on MY dime. (none / 0) (#19)
    by nyrias on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 12:55:52 PM EST
    The defendant is free to waste his money on a fool's errand.

    If it is funded by my tax, i have a say in how it is spent.


    Our due process rights are not subject (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 01:16:57 PM EST
    to democratic whims about efficiency.

    And thank goodness (none / 0) (#21)
    by Zorba on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 01:30:53 PM EST
    for that.

    Really? (none / 0) (#22)
    by nyrias on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 02:54:38 PM EST
    And I thought i just voted, last Nov, for judges and district attorneys in my county.

    If voting is not part of democratic politics, I don't know what is.


    Great choice (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 06:43:29 PM EST
    She is absolutely the best. Remember Susan Smith and the Unabomber. Plus, she's a great person. What a terrific choice.

    LAT profile (1990): (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 09:34:02 PM EST
    "I planned ahead" (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 04:53:19 PM EST

    From a Procedural Standpoint (none / 0) (#2)
    by The Maven on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:08:26 PM EST
    one has to think that unless Loughner quickly pleads guilty to all counts, the case will have to be moved elsewhere, if for no other reason than all of the federal judges and magistrate judges in the District of Arizona would feel compelled to recuse themselves as the killing of their colleague is involved.  If the Federal Defender's office is looking to the outside, it would surprise me if the courts and the USAO didn't do the same thing in order to minimize any possibility of bias.

    The way that is handled, (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Peter G on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:48:53 PM EST
    when a local judge is the victim or otherwise involved in the case (such as being the defendant, for example), is ordinarily to bring in a judge from another district court within the same Circuit (assigned by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals), not to move the case out of the district.  The defendant has a Sixth Amendment right (which he can waive if the publicity is more unfairly prejudicial locally) to be tried by a jury selected within the district where the offense was committed.  It is also possible, and constitutionally not problematic, to move the trial to another city within the same federal District.  I wouldn't be surprised, on Monday afternoon, to see a US Magistrate Judge conducting the initial appearance who was temporarily assigned from Nevada or from Southern California.

    Yes, that's what they did (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 06:42:26 PM EST
    in the Matt Hale case. He was charged in federal court in Chicago for soliticing the murder of a federal judge in Chicago. They brought in a judge from Indiana to preside.

    But, the OKC bombing rrial was moved from federal court in OK to federal court in Denver, so it could go either way.

    I would think the defendant would want a change of venue rather than insist on his 6th am right to be tried in the district where the crime was committed.

    I think venue issues are down the road though, particularly if sanity and competency issues go first.


    This has been national news (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:09:48 PM EST
    all weekend. I don't know what one does about that.

    pre-trial publicity is not (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:33:00 PM EST
    as big an issue as the conflict/bias issue. He can't be tried by a judge who worked with Roll.

    This case won't go to trial for a very long time. Issues of sanity, competency and venue will take months. The pre-trial publicity will have died down by then. Also, the test isn't whether a juror has heard about the case, it's whether they can put aside what they've heard and judge the case based on the evidence presented in court. It will be harder for AZ jurors to do that than those in another district.


    Thanks for the info (none / 0) (#8)
    by andgarden on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 06:12:58 PM EST
    I'm totally out of my depth here.

    I'm Not Referring (none / 0) (#5)
    by The Maven on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:36:49 PM EST
    to the publicity aspect for a jury trial, which clearly is national, as you note, but more simply in terms of the course of the prosecution and pre-trial practice.  Chief Judge Roll clearly would have interacted with his fellow judges on a regular basis and to a lesser degree with most members of the U.S. Attorney's Office as well.  There would obviously be much less connection to a judge, magistrate and prosecutor from outside the district.