Connecticut Supreme Court Applies Sell to Determination of Whether Defendant Can Be Forcibly Treated to Restore Competence

State v. Jacobs, 828 A.2d 587 (Conn. 2003)

The Supreme Court of Connecticut has issued one of the first appellate opinions applying the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Sell v. United States (2003) to a determination of whether involuntary medication can be authorized to render a defendant competent to stand trial.  The defendant was charged with breach of the peace, simple trespass, assault of a peace officer, carrying a dangerous weapon, and interference with an officer, which carried a combined maximum punishment of 14 years.  Subsequent to the defendant being found incompetent to stand trial, the trial court ordered treatment with psychotropic medication to restore the defendant's competence to stand trial.  The defendant appealed, claiming forced medication would violate his constitutional rights under the first amendment (i.e., his right to free speech or the right to free thought and communication), sixth amendment (i.e., his right to a fair trial), and fourteenth amendment (i.e., his interest in privacy or liberty).  The state argued this question was limited to whether the defendant's fourteenth amendment rights were infringed...

Found in DMHL Volume 23 Issue 1