Inclusion Daily Express Logo

International Disability Rights News Service
Click here for today's headlines & home page

Keeping advocates informed, inspired and connected since 1999.
Click here for daily or weekly delivery . . . OR
Try Inclusion Daily Express for ten days FREE . . .

Judge Orders Death Row Inmate To Take Meds To Be "Fit" For Execution
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 5, 2006

FORT WORTH, TEXAS--Steven Kenneth Staley has schizophrenia.

He doesn't want to take his anti-psychotic medication because he believes the doctors are trying to poison him.

Tarrant County Prosecutor Jim Gibson wants Staley to take his medication so he will get better -- so he can be executed.

A jury convicted Staley of murder 15 years ago for fatally shooting the manager of a Fort Worth restaurant during a 1989 robbery attempt. They sentenced him to the death penalty.

But the U.S. Supreme Court in 1986 ruled that the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the execution of people who are incompetent, whether because of intellectual disability or mental illness.

Last month, District Judge Wayne Salvant sided with Gibson, and ruled that Staley should be forced to take the drugs so he can be declared competent enough to face lethal injection.

Staley's attorney, Jack V. Strickland, told the Denver Post that the case will likely be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.

"I think the state has an interest in making people competent to stand trial or during a period of incarceration," Strickland said, "but I draw the line that the state . . . make them competent solely for the purpose of killing them."

Earlier this week, the National Council on Disability issued a statement saying that the idea of forcing medications on a person to make them "fit" for execution "should shock the conscience of all Americans".

"The forced treatment of Mr. Staley, particularly for purposes of execution, has severe implications for people with disabilities," the statement read. "NCD urges that in the absence of judicial clarity, a closer look be taken at death penalty legislation and the possibility of modification to make forced treatment of inmates a cruel and unusual punishment and hence unconstitutional."

Judge Salvant gave Strickland through the end of this week to decide on his next move.

"Statement Regarding the Forced Drugging of a Texas Inmate with a Psychiatric Disability" (National Council on Disability)
"Ruling will force meds on man on death row" (Denver Post)
Opinion: "Healing to kill?" (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
"Forced into sanity before death" (San Antonio Express-News)
"Criminal Justice Systems" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

Copyright © 2006 Inonit Publishing
Please do not reprint, forward, or post without permission.

Click here for top of this page

Purchase this story for your website or newsletter . . .

Here's what subscribers say about Inclusion Daily Express. . .

Keeping advocates informed, inspired and connected since 1999.
Click here for daily or weekly delivery . . . OR
Try Inclusion Daily Express for ten days FREE . . .

Get your news here!

Inclusion Daily Express
3231 W. Boone Ave., # 711
Spokane, Washington 99201 USA
Phone: 509-326-5811
Copyright © 2006 Inonit Publishing