A judicial emergency recently declared in Arizona could delay the trial of Jared Lee Loughner for up to six months.
Federal court officials declared a judicial emergency Tuesday due to a flood of immigration cases and shortage of judges, The Los Angeles Times reported. The emergency declaration allows the courts to suspend the demands of the Speedy Trial Act until February of 2012.
“The need to suspend the time limits is of great urgency due to a heavy criminal caseload, a lack of adequate resources, and the tragic death of Chief Judge John Roll,” Judge Roslyn O. Silver told the Times.
On Monday, 22-year-old Loughner entered a not-guilty plea in a Phoenix federal courtroom on charges of attempted assassination, for the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), and attempted murder of federal employees.
Investigators have discovered that Loughner researched lethal injection and solitary confinement before going on a shooting rampage in Tuscon, law enforcement sources told The Washington Post. He also viewed websites about political assassinations.
The information came from a computer, seized from Loughner’s home after the Jan. 8 shooting that killed six people and injured 13 others.
Prosecutors hope information from the computer can be used to show that Loughner did not meet the legal criteria for insanity and understood the consequences of his actions.
Doctors upgraded Rep. Giffords’ condition from serious to good Tuesday night. She was recovering from a gunshot wound to the head. Giffords was moved on Wednesday from the intensive care unit of a Houston hospital to a nearby rehabilitation hospital.
Members of Congress wore black and white ribbons during the State of the Union address Tuesday in honor of the shooting victims.
“As we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague and our friend Gabby Giffords,” President Obama said during his speech.