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Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Insane prisoner ordered to take drugs so he can be legally executed
February 13, 2003
(Note: Though this is old news, it is still newsworthy!)
By RUPERT CORNWELL in Washington
A United States federal appeals court has ruled that a mentally ill death row inmate can be forcibly treated with anti-psychotic drugs to make him sane enough to be legally executed.
In a 6-5 vote, the Eighth Circuit court in St Louis found that "involuntary medication followed by execution" was "a better choice" than withholding drugs, followed by psychosis and imprisonment.
The ruling is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court, which in 1986 barred the execution of insane prisoners.
Charles Singleton was convicted of killing an Arkansas grocery store worker in 1979. He has been on death row ever since.
His mental health began to worsen and in 1987 he came to believe his cell was inhabited by demons and that a prison doctor had implanted a device in his ear. Singleton has since been given anti-psychosis drugs, sometimes voluntarily, sometimes by force.
The Death Penalty Information Centre contends that 44 mentally retarded people were executed between 1976 and last year.
To read more, click here:
From The New Zealand Herald
Update: Singleton was executed in January, 2004.
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posted by Vetzine