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Charges filed in shooting death of Arizona federal judge

Federal charges [criminal complaint, PDF] were formally filed on Sunday against Jared Loughner, the man is accused of shooting to death [JURIST report] Chief Judge John Roll of the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] and five other people Saturday. Fourteen other people were wounded in the shooting including Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) [official website]. Loughner faces one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the federal government and two counts of attempting to kill federal employees. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller [official profile] said that additional charges could be filed [Arizona Republic report] against Loughner in the future. Loughner is expected to appear in court in Monday [Reuters report] to enter a plea in response to the federal charges. Loughner has invoked his right to remain silent [ABC report] and refuses to talk to investigators. It is expected that Loughner will be represented in court [Arizona Republic report] by well-known federal public defender Judy Clarke, who has assisted other high-profile defendants including the "Unabomber" Theodore Kaczynski and Susan Smith, the South Carolina woman who drowned her children in 1994.

President Barack Obama directed that the investigation into the shooting be conducted [press releases] by the FBI, coordinated by Mueller. Authorities arrested Loughner on Saturday and are searching for a possible accomplice [press release]. Due to the currently polarized political climate, many suspect that the attack was politically motivated [ABC report]. Giffords received harsh criticism in Arizona for her vote for the health care reform law [HR 3590; JURIST news archive] and was among those members of Congress who reported threats or vandalism in 2010. Giffords also was an outspoken critic of Arizona's controversial immigration law [SB 1070 text; JURIST news archive]. Ultimately, a clear motive into the shootings has yet to be identified.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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