Sell v. U.S. Involuntary Medication to Restore Trial Competency - A Workable Standard?

Joan B. Gerbasi, Charles L Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Competency to Stand Trial (CST) evaluations are common in the U.S. criminal justice system. Of those defendants found Incompetent to Stand Trial (IST), psychotic disorders are the most common diagnoses, and active psychotic symptoms are strongly correlated with impairments in trial-related abilities. If a defendant is rendered IST because of psychosis, restoration will be unlikely without antipsychotic medication. Last term, in Sell v. U.S., the U.S. Supreme Court dealt with medication refusal in the context of competency restoration. The Court held that involuntary medication, under certain circumstances, is appropriate. This article includes a review of earlier relevant legal decisions and an analysis and discussion of the Sell decision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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