Loughner Trial Likely Heading West

Via  WaPoFederal authorities plan to move trial of Tucson shooting suspect.

Federal court authorities are planning to move the trial of the alleged gunman in the Jan. 8 mass shooting in Tucson to San Diego because of extensive pretrial publicity in Arizona, federal law enforcement sources said Sunday night.

Of course, pre-trial publicity is hardly an Arizona-only issue.  Still, in highly emotional cases such as this, a venue change makes some sense.  A similar move took place in the trial of Timothy McVeigh, where the trial was moved from Oklahoma to Colorado.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. PD Shaw says:

    This is why I always thought the benefits of trying KSM in NYC were preposterous. It wasn’t going to happen there anyway.

  2. Jack says:

    Perhaps this is an opportunity to discuss the “not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect” defense.

    I’ve often wondered if our legal system could use an addition of “guilty by reason of mental disease or defect” with mandatory treatment as the sentence. The difference in phraseology may make the acknowledgment of the mental illness more palatable to those who are infuriated when people are found “not guilty” because they suffer from mental illness.

  3. PD Shaw says:

    Jack, some states have a “Guilty But Mentally Ill” verdict, which is different from “Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity.” I don’t know the particulars of how they differ.

  4. john personna says:

    I haven’t commented on the forced-commitment issue or mental defenses. FWIW, I think our system is pretty messed up.

    We used to commit too many, and now we do too few.

    We know more about brain defects, but use a 19th century concept of insanity.

    Personally, I think we need Institutions For The Criminally Insane, and life commitment. I don’t expect that great a shift, though.

  5. PD Shaw says:

    Indeed, looking into it further, Arizona state law provides for a sentence of guilty, but insane, which means that the person can be imprisoned if the convict recovers enough to leave a mental institution. I question whether someone could be executed under that scenario.

  6. michael reynolds says:


    Can we name it the Arkham Asylum?