Sell v. United States, 539 U.S. 166, 8 (2003)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Cite as: 539 U. S. 166 (2003)

Opinion of the Court

gested that he was in love with her, criticized her for having nothing to do with him, and, when told that his behavior was inappropriate, added " 'I can't help it.' " Id., at 168-170, 325. He subsequently made remarks or acted in ways indicating that this kind of conduct would continue. The Medical Center doctors testified that, given Sell's prior behavior, diagnosis, and current beliefs, boundary-breaching incidents of this sort were not harmless and, when coupled with Sell's inability or unwillingness to desist, indicated that he was a safety risk even within the institution. They added that he had been moved to a locked cell.

In August 2000, the Magistrate found that "the government has made a substantial and very strong showing that Dr. Sell is a danger to himself and others at the institution in which he is currently incarcerated"; that "the government has shown that anti-psychotic medication is the only way to render him less dangerous"; that newer drugs and/or changing drugs will "ameliorat[e]" any "serious side effects"; that "the benefits to Dr. Sell . . . far outweigh any risks"; and that "there is a substantial probability that" the drugs will "retur[n]" Sell "to competency." Id., at 333-334. The Magistrate concluded that "the government has shown in as strong a manner as possible, that anti-psychotic medications are the only way to render the defendant not dangerous and competent to stand trial." Id., at 335. The Magistrate issued an order authorizing the involuntary administration of antipsychotic drugs to Sell, id., at 331, but stayed that order to allow Sell to appeal the matter to the Federal District Court, id., at 337.

Fourth, the District Court reviewed the record and, in April 2001, issued an opinion. The court addressed the Magistrate's finding "that defendant presents a danger to himself or others sufficient" to warrant involuntary administration of antipsychotic drugs. Id., at 349. After noting that Sell subsequently had "been returned to an open ward," the District Court held the Magistrate's "dangerousness"


Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007