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By Chris Adams
Death Watch columns.
Thanks to a recent Eighth Circuit decision, we may begin to see a
whole new line of bumper stickers. Perhaps John Ashcroft’s car will
sport the slogan “Stop the Insanity — Medicate, then Eradicate.”
Recently Eleanor on “The Practice” asked her psychotic client to go off
her anti-psychotic medication to make her incompetent and avoid
execution. The compassionate TV judge forced the client to be medicated
but, finding it would violate the Eighth Amendment to execute the
mentally ill, commuted the sentence to life. Unfortunately for Charles
Singleton, the Eighth Circuit bench isn’t as wise or compassionate as
the judge on TV.
Charles Singleton is on death row in Arkansas for a 1979 killing. Nobody
disputes that he is psychotic. Arkansas has set his execution date.
Although the opinion deals favorably with the mootness doctrine and
successive habeas petitions, I will only be dealing with the issue of forcible medication. Under Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399 (19
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