Charlie Buttrey

June 17, 2022

In April of 2016, Johnathan Martin was indicted for robbery. Twice thereafter, courts determined that he was not competent. But here’s the rub: if he took his antipsychotic meds, he would be competent to stand trial. But Martin didn’t want to take the meds. The query, then, is: can a court force an incompetent person take medications to make him competent?

The short answer is “yes.”

The United States Supreme Court has held that involuntary medication can be ordered when (1) an important governmental interest is at stake; (2) involuntary medication will significantly further that governmental interest; (3) involuntary medication is necessary to further that interest; and (4) administration of the drugs is medically appropriate.

Of course, just because he may be competent at trial doesn’t necessarily mean that he was legally sane when he committed the alleged crime.



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