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The Champion

August 2013 , Page 26 

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How the Medicate-to-Execute Scheme Undermines Individual Liberty, Offends Societal Norms, and Violates The Constitution

By Caitlin Steinke

“The blind think I’m playing a game. They deny me, refusing my existence, but everybody takes the place of another. I will come forth as you go.”1 


As of January 2013, there are a total of 3,125 inmates on death row in the United States.2 And while it is difficult to obtain accurate statistics, it is estimated that five to ten percent of all inmates on death row suffer from mental illness.3 In 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Ford v. Wainwright, that it is unconstitutional to execute the insane.4 Put succinctly, “[t]here is something unseemly about sending a person who is floridly psychotic to his death, when he has no knowledge of what is coming.”5 What about the severely mentally ill individual whose symptoms do not, at the moment of the competency determination, indicate that the individual is “floridly psychotic”?

The American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and the American Ba

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