Sell v. United States, 539 U.S. 166, 9 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

finding "clearly erroneous." Id., at 349, and n. 5. The court limited its determination to Sell's "dangerousness at this time to himself and to those around him in his institutional context." Id., at 349 (emphasis in original).

Nonetheless, the District Court affirmed the Magistrate's order permitting Sell's involuntary medication. The court wrote that "anti-psychotic drugs are medically appropriate," that "they represent the only viable hope of rendering defendant competent to stand trial," and that "administration of such drugs appears necessary to serve the government's compelling interest in obtaining an adjudication of defend-ant's guilt or innocence of numerous and serious charges" (including fraud and attempted murder). Id., at 354. The court added that it was "premature" to consider whether "the effects of medication might prejudice [Sell's] defense at trial." Id., at 351, 352. The Government and Sell both appealed.

Fifth, in March 2002, a divided panel of the Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's judgment. 282 F. 3d 560 (CA8). The majority affirmed the District Court's determination that Sell was not dangerous. The majority noted that, according to the District Court, Sell's behavior at the Medical Center "amounted at most to an 'inappropriate familiarity and even infatuation' with a nurse." Id., at 565. The Court of Appeals agreed, "[u]pon review," that "the evidence does not support a finding that Sell posed a danger to himself or others at the Medical Center." Ibid.

The Court of Appeals also affirmed the District Court's order requiring medication in order to render Sell competent to stand trial. Focusing solely on the serious fraud charges, the panel majority concluded that the "government has an essential interest in bringing a defendant to trial." Id., at 568. It added that the District Court "correctly concluded that there were no less intrusive means." Ibid. After reviewing the conflicting views of the experts, id., at 568-571, the panel majority found antipsychotic drug treatment "med-

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