Defendants Found Incompetent to Be Sentenced Also Entitled to Sell's Protections from Treatment over Objection; Ruling Not Disturbed

United States v. Baldovinos, 434 F.3d 233 (4th Cir. 2006), cert. denied, 126 S. Ct. 1407 (2006)

The United States Supreme Court, in Sell v. United States, 539 U.S. 166 (2003), held that governmental officials, under limited circumstances, can obtain a court order to administer over objection antipsychotic drugs to restore the competence of defendants found incompetent to stand trial, even though it had not been shown they were dangerous to themselves or others.  Because it believed that most cases can and should be resolved by first focusing on the defendant's dangerousness to self or others, an independent basis for forcible medication established in Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210 (1990), the Court indicated that it thought few Sell orders would be needed and that the protections it mandated would limit the imposition of what was acknowledged to be a significant invasion of a defendant's constitutionally protected liberty interest in avoiding the involuntary administration of these drugs and their side effects...

Found in DMHL Volume 25 Issue 2