Brief in the U.S. Supreme Court
Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE) filed an amicus curiae
brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a St. Louis
dentist. Dr. Charles Sell is appealing to the Court to stay a lower court’s decision to have him forcibly drugged in order
to stand trial. In May, the Eighth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruled
that Dr. Sell could be injected with psychotropic drugs in order to make
him “mentally competent” to stand trial for insurance fraud.
counsel and author of the amicus brief Richard Glen Boire sees this case
as a freedom of thought issue, one that the Supreme Court has previously
located within the First Amendment. “If government agents, with the
concurrence of the courts, can constitutionally order the forcible
manipulation of Dr. Sell’s mind in order that he may stand trial,”
states the brief, “then any accused defendant…is also at jeopardy of
losing his or her First Amendment right to freedom of thought.”
Circuit Court’s earlier decision, which critics have called “shocking
and inhumane,” ruled that Dr. Sell’s bodily integrity was less
important than the state’s interest in bringing him to trial. The CCLE,
however, argues in the brief that the lower court mischaracterized the
personal liberty right at stake in this case. "When the
government invades a person's body in order to manipulate the mind,"
says Mr. Boire, "both bodily integrity and freedom of thought are at
stake." This combined liberty interest is what the CCLE terms
the government's insistence that Dr. Sell can be forcibly administered
mind-altering drugs, is diametrically opposed to its "just say
no" policy with respect to other mind-altering drugs.
the one hand the government is bent on creating a "Drug Free
America," while on the other hand it forces a citizen to take
mind-altering drugs despite his repeated objection," said Mr. Boire.
"The only thing consistent here is the government's astonishingly
arrogant assertion that it has the power to determine which mind states
and types of thinking are allowed and which it can prohibit or
has been incarcerated for over four years, without trial, at the U.S.
Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. If Dr. Sell
had been found guilty, his sentence would be no more than 41 months – a
year shorter than the time he has already spent in custody.
the CCLE's amicus brief to the Supreme Court.
further materials concerning the Dr. Sell case.
"Mental Health & Cognitive Liberty
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