Arizona Shooting Suspect's Record Showed Minor Offenses Since 2007

Published January 08, 2011

| FoxNews.com

A preliminary review of Jared Lee Loughner's criminal record reveals a 2007 arrest for possessing drug paraphernalia and two other minor infractions.

Records obtained from the Pima County, Ariz., crimes database show that Jared Lee Loughner, believed to be the man responsible for Saturday's mass shooting in Tucson, which wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and ended in the death of federal judge John M. Roll as well as at least four others, was arrested one day before his 19th birthday in 2007.

It appears as if Loughner's misdemeanor drug charge was initially dismissed by Pima County's senior justice of the peace, Judge José Luis Castillo, Jr. The records suggest that Loughner paid a $20 fee and completed a court-ordered program for drug offenders.

In September, three years after his arrest, Loughner asked the court to set aside a supposed judgment against him.  But Castillo denied the request, ruling that since the diversion program was completed and the case dismissed in 2007 there was no conviction verdict to set aside.

It isn't clear why Loughner made the request.

There is no immediate record available showing that Loughner had legal representation either in 2007 or last September.

According to information from Beresky & Fish law firm in Phoenix, which handles similar cases, it appears as if Loughner's dismissal was a routine matter for the court. "Generally speaking, individuals with no previous criminal record who have been charged with personal possession of an amount that is less than the state's threshold amount for that specific drug are looking at the best-case scenario in terms of a drug sentence -- most likely a drug court diversion program or a deferred sentencing arrangement that allows them to avoid jail and conviction if completed. Provided the drug in question isn't methamphetamine -- a best-case scenario for someone convicted for meth possession would be probation instead of jail."

The court records do not detail what drug Loughner possessed.

Other reports obtained by Fox News show that Loughner was cited for running a stop sign in 2007, three months after his drug arrest.

Another record shows a 2008 arrest for what’s described as a "local charge" in Marana, Ariz., 20 miles northwest of Tucson.  The non-criminal charge was dismissed.

Fox Business Network's Peter Barnes and John Gallagher contributed to this report.

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http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/01/08/arizona-shooting-suspects-record-showed-minor-offenses/