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Court blocks Loughner's forced medication

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Court blocks Loughner's forced medication
Jared Lee Loughner is shown after his arrest, Jan. 8, 2011 in Tucson. Photo released by the Pima County Sheriff's Office, Jan. 10, 2011. UPI/U.S. Marshalls/HO | License Photo

SAN FRANCISCO, July 5 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked prison doctors from forcibly medicating Jared Loughner, the suspect in January's Tucson massacre.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals released the order late Friday, the Tucson Sentinel reported. Prosecutors were told to respond by Tuesday afternoon and defense lawyers by Wednesday.

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Loughner was arrested Jan. 8 at the Tucson supermarket where six people were killed and 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., were injured. Giffords, the apparent target, is still in rehab after being shot in the head.

Ron Barber, Giffords' chief of staff, returned to work Tuesday, six months after he was shot in the cheek and groin, the Arizona Daily Star reported. He said his doctor has ordered him to put in no more than 4 hours a day and to start no earlier than 9 a.m. during a "trial" period.

Continuing numbness in his left leg means he must use a cane and can only drive short distances.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns in San Diego said last week Loughner is not entitled to a court hearing on the issue of forcible medication. His lawyers appealed.

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After he was found incompetent to stand trial, Loughner was sent to a federal prison hospital. His lawyers said forcible medication began June 22.

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