by Dan Gibson
From the Arizona Republic:
The judge in the case against accused Tucson shooter Jared Loughner has suggested a September trial date, but Loughner's defense attorney wants to push the trial back to January 2013, citing the need to gather mitigating evidence to save Loughner from a potential death penalty.
Loughner, 22, is charged with 49 counts related to the Jan. 8 murders of six people and wounding of 13 more, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, outside a Tucson-area supermarket where Giffords was meeting with constituents.
Loughner will appear in a Tucson courtroom on Wednesday to be arraigned on the new charges. U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns also intends to set a trial date at that hearing. In earlier court documents, Burns indicated that he would set the date of Sept. 20.
In a trial schedule proposed in a motion filed Friday by Assistant U.S. Attorney Beverly K. Anderson - which assumes the trial date suggested by Burns - Loughner's defense team would have to make its presentation to the Justice Department's Capital Case Review Committee on June 7. The department would then have to decide on whether to seek the death penalty by July 22.
But Loughner's lead attorney, Judy Clarke, in a motion also filed Friday, asked that Burns not set a trial date until after the Justice Department makes its decision on whether to seek the death penalty for Loughner, or in the alternative, to begin the trial in January 2013. Clarke wrote in her motion that because of the time "required to gain an understanding of the depths of Mr. Loughner's mental afflictions and their impact on his functioning in the world," she will not be ready to discuss capital punishment issues with the government until June 1, 2012, a year after the time suggested by prosecutors.