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NCJ Number: 169762 Find in a Library
Title: Right to Fitness Hearings for Defendants on Psychotropic Drugs
Journal: Illinois Bar Journal  Volume:85  Issue:5  Dated:(May 1997)  Pages:208-211
Author(s): D M Locallo
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 4
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the conflicting approaches taken by the Illinois judiciary and General Assembly to the right to fitness hearings for criminal defendants undergoing psychotropic drug therapy.
Abstract: Illinois statutory and case law requires the trial court to hold a mental competency hearing if there is a bona fide doubt concerning the defendant's mental fitness to understand the nature and purpose of the proceedings and to assist in his or her defense. The Illinois General Assembly has amended a section of this law, and the changes have restricted the statutory right of medicated defendants to a fitness hearing. Specifically, the changes: (1) ignore the side effects suffered by persons undergoing psychotropic drug therapy; and (2) put all defendants under the same standard. Objective analysis of the fitness of defendants receiving psychotropic drugs was replaced by analysis relying upon a judge's subjective personal observation. The question remains whether the legislature has established adequate procedures to protect psychotropically medicated defendants' rights to not be tried while unfit. The Illinois Supreme and Appellate Courts will ultimately determine whether the General Assembly's approach is correct. Notes
Main Term(s): Controlled Substances
Index Term(s): Appellate courts; Competency to stand trial; Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Drug effects; Drug therapy; Illinois; Medical evaluation; State courts; State government
Note: DCC
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