A judge has ordered the forced medication of a man accused of planting a pipe bomb at a Santa Monica Hebrew school two years ago.
Ron Hirsch, 62, will undergo four months of involuntary medication, according to court documents filed last week in federal court in Los Angeles.
In that time, there's a "substantial probability" Hirsch "will attain the capacity to permit the [trial] to go forward," wrote U.S. District Court Judge Manuel L. Real in his Jan. 2 ruling.
Hirsch had previously been found incompetent to stand trial.
He was indicted May 3, 2011 on charges stemming from an explosion the month prior from outside the Chabad House Lubavitch of Santa Monica. The explosion launched a steel pipe into the side of the Hebrew school before it landed on the roof of a nearby home. No one was injured.
Evidence left at the scene led detectives to Hirsch, who was arrested at at a synagogue in Cleveland Heights, OH.
Prosecutors filed a motion for a Sell Hearing after Hirsch was found incompetent to stand trial in November of 2011.
In the 2003 court case Sell vs. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that a criminal defendant may be forcefully medicated for the sole purposes of rendering him competent to stand trial. Before a defendant can be medicated, however, the courts have to find that there won't be any serious side effects, among other criteria.
"Medication is substantially likely to restore defendant to competency and substantially unlikely to cause side effects that would impair significantly his ability to assist in his defense at trial," Judge Manuel wrote in his ruling.
The ruling was based on an evaluation from a psychiatrist chosen by Hirsch and his attorney for the Sell Hearing, Dr. Matthew Carroll.
Carroll found, "Without treatment, [Hirsch's] chances of living or functioning in the community in the foreseeable future are virtually nil."
Upon hearing Carroll's evualation, defense attorney Lawrence Jay Litman declined to oppose prosecutors' motion for the hearing.
If convicted on all charges—which include flight to avoid prosecution—Hirsch would face a minimum sentence of 45 years behind bars.
It was not clear from the court documents why prison examiners found Hirsch unfit for trial. The medical records are under seal.