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NCJ Number: 44089 Find in a Library
Title: PSYCHOTROPIC MEDICATION AND COMPETENCE TO STAND TRIAL
Journal: AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION RESEARCH  Volume:1977  Issue:3  Dated:(SUMMER 1977)  Pages:769-816
Author(s): B J WINICK
Corporate Author: American Bar Foundation
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 48
Sponsoring Agency: American Bar Foundation
Chicago, IL 60611
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE PRACTICE OF AUTOMATICALLY PROHIBITING THE RETURN FOR TRIAL OF DEFENDANTS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS IS CRITICALLY EXAMINED; CONSEQUENCES OF THE RULE TO DEFENDANTS AND TO THE STATE ARE CONSIDERED.
Abstract: DEFENDANTS WHO ARE FOUND TO BE, AS A RESULT OF MENTAL ILLNESS, INCOMPETENT TO STAND TRIAL ARE OFTEN TREATED WITH PSYCHOACTIVE OR PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS. THESE ARE DEFINED AS COMPOUNDS AFFECTING THE MIND, BEHAVIOR, INTELLECTUAL FUNCTIONS, PERCEPTION, MOODS, AND EMOTIONS; INDIVIDUAL CATEGORIES OF THE DRUGS INCLUDE: ANTIPSYCHOTIC DRUGS FOR THE TREATMENT OF SCHIZOPHRENIA; ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS; LITHIUM FOR THE TREATMENT OF MANIA; AND ANTIANXIETY DRUGS. SUCH DRUGS HAVE ALLOWED INCREASING NUMBERS OF PATIENTS ON MAINTENANCE DOSAGES OF MEDICATION THAT INHIBIT THE MORE SEVERE MANIFESTATIONS OF THEIR ILLNESS TO FUNCTION IN THE COMMUNITY RELATIVELY FREE OF PSYCHOTIC SYMPTOMS. SOME COURTS, MISTAKENLY ASSUMING THAT PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS PRODUCE A 'CHEMICAL SANITY' THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE FOR PARTICIPATION IN A TRIAL, HAVE ADOPTED THE 'AUTOMATIC BAR RULE' FOR DEFENDANTS UNDER TREATMENT INVOLVING PSYCHOACTIVE MEDICATION. SURVEYS SHOWED THAT THE AUTOMATIC BAR RULE IS IN OPERATION IN AT LEAST 13 STATES. DATA FROM A STUDY OF 143 NEW YORK CITY DEFENDANTS RETURNED TO COURT BETWEEN JANUARY-JUNE 1974 AS COMPETENT TO STAND TRIAL BUT REQUIRING CONTINUING PSYCHOTROPIC MEDICATION FORM THE BASIS OF A DISCUSSION OF THE USE AND EFFECTS OF EACH OF THE MAJOR CLASSES OF PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS. EXAMINATION OF THE AUTOMATIC BAR RULE COVERS CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGES IN RELATION TO EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW, CONCLUSIVE PRESUMPTION, PROCEDURAL AND SUBSTANTIVE DUE PROCESS, SPEEDY TRIAL, AND CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THE AUTOMATIC BAR RULE BE ABANDONED, THAT EACH DEFENDANT'S COMPETENCE ON DRUGS BE INDIVIDUALLY DETERMINED, THAT SPECIAL PROCEDURES AND JURY INSTRUCTIONS BE APPLIED IN APPROPRIATE CASES, THAT HOSPITAL AND DETENTION FACILITY PRACTICES WITH RESPECT TO PSYCHOTROPIC DRUG ADMINISTRATION BE REVIEWED AND REVISED, AND THAT PSYCHIATRISTS BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR EVALUATION OF DEFENDANTS AND CONSULTATION WITH JUDGES. NOTES AND REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED).
Index Term(s): Competency to stand trial; Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Controlled Substances; Drug treatment; Legal doctrines; Mentally ill offenders; Rights of the accused
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=44089

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