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SCOW to decide whether Wisconsin’s “treatment to competency” statute is unconstitutional

State v. Raytrell K. Fitzgerald, 2018AP1296-CR, petition for bypass granted 12/12/18, circuit court order vacated, 2019 WI 69; case activity (including briefs)


Whether the involuntary medication provisions of Wis. Stat. §971.14 are unconstitutional because they do not comport with Sell v. United States, 539 U.S. 166 (2003)?

Whether the circuit court’s Order of Commitment for Involuntary Treatment violated Fitzgerald’s constitutional right to substantive and procedural due process?

In Sell, the United States Supreme Court held that before the State may forcibly medicate a defendant to render him competent to stand trial it must prove 4 factors: (1) important governmental interests are at stake; (2) involuntary medication will significantly further those government interests; (3) involuntary medication is necessary to further those interests; and (4) the administration of drugs is medically appropriate i.e. in the patient’s best medical interest in light of his medical condition. Sell, 539 U.S. at 180-181. Section 971.14’s involuntary medication provisions, specifically 971.14(4)(b) and 3(dm), do not track Sell‘s requirements. They allow the State to forcibly medicate based solely on the fact that the defendant is incompetent to make medication and treatment decisions. Several recent appeals have asked whether §971.14 is unconstitutional on its face. It looks like SCOW will finally answer the question in this case.

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