Saturday, July 24, 2004

Death penalty & psychotropic drugs.

On July 21st, U.S. District Judge Royal Fergeson (U.S. District Court for the Western District, Pecos Division) granted a Texas death-row inmate's petition for habeas corpus relief in an 80-page opinion that (1) blows the state's case out of the water; (2) includes harrowing accounts of prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel; (3) depicts the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (our highest state court for the review of criminal convictions) as incompetent, uncaring, or both; and (4) declares unconstitutional the administration of antipsychotic drugs to the defendant without his knowledge or consent during the pre-trial and trial despite the fact that the defendant showed no symptoms of psychosis. The result of that last item was that during the guilt and punishment phase of the trial, the defendant was noticeably without facial expression or other affect, making him appear to be supremely indifferent to the charges, the evidence, the trial, or much of anything else.

I have two questions: (1) What do you suppose the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will do with this on appeal? (2) What did the physicians who ordered the daily doses of Haldol and Perphenazine think they were doing?

posted by tommayo, 1:11 PM

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter