- WASHINGTON -- Defendants
can be forcibly drugged even though they haven't been convicted of any
charges and pose no danger to themselves or others.
- That's the ruling issued yesterday by the Federal Court
of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in the case of United States v. Charles
Thomas Sell. (see www.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/02/03/011862P.pdf) The 2
- 1 split decision establishes government power to forcibly medicate a
person with mind altering drugs even before trial.
- "It's a shocking, inhumane decision. Now, all the
government needs are allegations and a cooperative psychiatrist to forcibly
drug any citizen," said Andrew Schlafly, General Counsel for the Association
of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). That group filed an amicus
brief opposing the government drugging.
- "It's unprecedented to allow prosecutors to drug
peaceful defendants presumed to be innocent. Government cannot force citizens
to pledge allegiance to the flag, but now can forcibly medicate them with
mind-altering drugs," said Mr. Schlafly.
- Dr. Sell, a St. Louis dentist, has been imprisoned for
more than 4 years, including one- and-one-half years in solitary confinementafter
being charged with Medicaid fraud. He has never been brought to trial.
- While acknowledging that "the evidence does not
support a finding that Sell posed a danger to himself or others" the
majority opinion still found that "charges of fraud" alone are
"serious" enough to justify forced medication. Further, the Court
held that there are no limits on the quantity or type of drugs.
- "There's no good reason why Dr. Sell has been held
so long without trial, and this decision will most likely prolong his imprisonment
with no end in sight," said Mr. Schlafly. The dissenting judge pointed
out that even if Dr. Sell were to be found guilty, his sentence would be
no more than 41 months -- one year less than he's already served.
- A similar case is pending before the same court to allow
the State to forcibly medicate a convicted murderer for execution.
- "It's appalling that the court will drug a man presumed
to be innocent, even if it's illegal to do the same thing to a convicted
killer." Mr. Schlafly said that AAPS will seek to overturn the ruling.
- AAPS is a non-partisan, dues-supported professional association
of physicians in all practices and specialties, dedicated since 1943 to
protecting the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship from third-party
- Unlimited Forced Drugging Of Untried Suspects OK'd By