Judicial authorization of treatment with psychotropic medication over objection

In the Matter of C.B., 392 P.3d 598 (Mont. 2017)

Montana Supreme Court upholds District Court order in involuntary commitment case in which the Court also authorizes the administration of involuntary medication when it “may be necessary.”

Found in DMHL Volume 36, Issue 2

Involuntary commitment hearings; judicial authorization of treatment; due process

In the Matter of N.L., 71 N.E.3d 476 (Mass. 2017)

Massachusetts Supreme Court rules that Massachusetts statutes give individuals in involuntary commitment hearings and in judicial authorization of treatment hearings the right to request and obtain a continuance of the hearing beyond the otherwise statutorily required time frames.

Found in DMHL Volume 36, Issue 2

Involuntary medication to restore competency to stand trial; due process

Washington v. Lyons, 2017 WL 2438687 (Wash. Ct. App. June 6, 2017)

Washington State Court of Appeals holds that a defendant has a due process right to obtain and present expert testimony on whether the findings required under Sell for involuntary medication to restore competency to stand trial have been proven by the state.

Found in DMHL Volume 36, Issue 2

Involuntary commitment hearings; right to effective representation by counsel

In re Henry B., 159 A.3d 824 (Me. 2017)

Maine Supreme Court holds that individuals subject to involuntary commitment proceedings have the right to effective representation by counsel, and may claim ineffective counsel as part of an appeal of commitment.

Found in DMHL Volume 36, Issue 2

Involuntary commitment; due process

Doe v. Florida, 217 So.3d 1020 (Fla. 2017)

The Supreme Court of Florida rules that the constitutional due process rights of individuals in involuntary commitment hearings include the right to have the judicial officer physically present for such hearings. A local court’s plan for the judicial officer to be present through videoconferencing is disapproved.

Found in DMHL Volume 36, Issue 2

Execution of incompetent defendant

Madison v. Alabama Dept. of Corrections, 851 F.3d 1173 (11th Cir. 2017)

Eleventh Circuit holds that defendant who, as a result of dementia developing after his conviction for capital murder had become incapable of remembering or understanding that he had committed the crime for which he was to be executed, was incompetent for execution under Ford v. Wainwright and Panetti v. Quarterman

Found in DMHL Volume 36, Issue 2

Excessive force; qualified immunity

S.B. v. County of San Diego, et al., 2017 WL 1959984 (9th Cir. May 12, 2017)

Ninth Circuit reverses district court’s refusal to grant sheriff deputy’s motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity, finding that, while the officer’s use of lethal force was objectively unreasonable, there were no existing court decisions at the time of the event that were specific enough to give the deputy clear prior notice that his use of force in those particular circumstances would be unreasonable.

Found in DMHL Volume 36, Issue 2


Eighth Amendment violations due to inhumane prison conditions and lack of treatment; inmate suicide

Palakovic v. Wetzel, 854 F.3d 209 (3rd Cir. 2017)

Third Circuit reverses the trial court’s grant of defendants’ motions to dismiss claims brought by estate of inmate who committed suicide in prison, holding that the district court erred by (1) improperly applying the guidelines for determining the liability of facility staff for an inmate’s suicide, and (2) improperly denying claims that the prison was liable for subjecting the inmate to inhumane conditions and being deliberately indifferent to his documented mental illness, separate and apart from his suicide.

Found in DMHL Volume 36, Issue 2

Exhaustion doctrine—modification when claimant compromised by mental illness

Weiss v. Barribeau, et al., 853 F.3d 873 (7th Cir. 2017)

Seventh Circuit reverses the district court’s grant of summary judgment to prison officials on inmate’s Eighth Amendment claim, on the grounds of inmate’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies, finding that inmate’s capacity to make required timely administrative complaints and appeals was compromised by his mental illness and by the actions of prison officials in response to that illness.

Found in DMHL Volume 36, Issue 2

Administration of psychotropic medication; due process

Johnson v. Tinwalla, 855 F.3d 747 (7th Cir. 2017)

Seventh Circuit reverses summary judgment awarded by the district court to facility physician who prescribed and arranged for dispensing of psychotropic medication over an inmate’s objection, finding that an inmate can pursue claims that his resulting unknowing taking of the medication violated his constitutional due process rights and constituted common law medical battery.

Found in DMHL Volume 36, Issue 2

Intellectual disability; execution

Moore v. Texas, 137 S.Ct. 1039 (2017)

U.S. Supreme Court reverses the ruling of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that defendant convicted of a capital crime was not intellectually disabled. The Supreme Court found that the state court deviated from the consensus of the medical community and relied on lay stereotypes of intellectual disability rather than accepted clinical standards.

Found in DMHL Volume 36, Issue 2

Sexually Violent Predators and Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

In re Chapman, No. 27705, 2017 S.C. LEXIS 29 (Feb. 15, 2017)

The South Carolina Supreme Court rules that a person has a due process right to effective assistance of counsel during civil commitment proceedings for sexually violent predators, but that a claim contesting such commitment due to ineffective assistance of counsel must be raised in a habeas corpus petition as South Carolina statutory law does not provide for making such a claim on direct appeal.

Found in DMHL Volume 36, Issue 1

Involuntary Commitment and Loss of Right to Possess Firearms

In re Vencil Appeal of Pa. State Police, 152 A.3d 235 (Pa. 2017)

Pennsylvania Supreme Court interprets Pennsylvania statute governing challenges to loss of right to possess firearms following involuntary civil commitment for mental health treatment, holding that when reviewing a physician’s decision to involuntarily commit an individual, a court must find that the physician’s decision was supported by a preponderance of the evidence available to the physician when the decision was made.

Found in DMHL Volume 36, Issue 1

Criminal Sentencing; Mitigating Factors Due to Mental Illness

Wampler v. State, 67 N.E.3d 633 (Ind. 2017)

While finding no error in the sentencing decision of the trial court, the Indiana Supreme Court, in a per curiam decision, reduces the sentence of an offender with a history of mental illness in recognition of the illness’s impact on the offender’s behavior.

Found in DMHL Volume 36, Issue 1

Eighth Amendment/Conditions of Confinement/Deliberate Indifference

Rasho v. Elyea, No. 14-1902, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3976 (7th Cir. Mar. 7, 2017)

Eighth Amendment/Conditions of Confinement/Deliberate Indifference: Seventh Circuit reverses grant of summary judgment to contract psychiatrists in state prison system where inmate with serious mental illness alleges that psychiatrists effected his transfer out of a special mental health treatment unit in retaliation for the inmate’s grievances against staff, resulting in denial of effective treatment.

Found in DMHL Volume 36, Issue 1

Ineffective Assistance, Rights Waiver

Iannarelli v. Young, 904 N.W.2d 82 (S.D. 2017)

The Supreme Court of South Dakota upheld a sentence because the defendant waived his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and he did not receive ineffective counsel either by failure to warn the defendant of his Fifth Amendment right prior to a psychological evaluation or by failure to request a hearing to determine if institutionalization may be appropriate.

Found in DMHL Volume 37, Issue 1