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Criminal Law and Procedure

Law and Psychology

2015

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0n Executing Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenics: Identity And The Construction Of “Synthetic” Competency, Theodore Y. Blumoff Feb 2015

0n Executing Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenics: Identity And The Construction Of “Synthetic” Competency, Theodore Y. Blumoff

Theodore Y. Blumoff

Since 2003, death penalty jurisdictions have been permitted to use psychotropic drugs to “restore” the competency of schizophrenics so they can execute them. Exactly why it is permissible to execute a “synthetically” or “artificially” competent individual is unclear in light of Ford v. Wainwright, a 1986 decision in which the United States Supreme Court, following ancient custom and common law rule, held that the cruel and unusual prohibition of the Eighth Amendment prohibited execution of the insane. The lack of clarity follows from the inability of the Court to agree on the reason the tradition persists. Nonetheless, health care providers …