The United States Supreme Court has not yet examined several aspects of the death penalty. One aspect is the ability for the state to forcefully medicate an incompetent inmate, which may result in the inmate appearing competent for execution. While the Supreme Court' ruled that it is unconstitutional to execute an inmate who is incompetent, inmates who would have had their executions vacated due to mental illness are executed because the state can put them on an involuntary medication regimen. According to many experts, involuntary medication regimens mask the affects of their illness instead of providing a cure. Experts often refer to this practice as the "chemical straitjacket." Because the effects of antipsychotic medication, inmates may be sedated to a point where they appear competent, but in reality, they are sedated to a point where their mental illness is still present yet undetectable. As a result, placing condemned inmates on involuntary medication regimens has the possibility to violate the inmate's Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The intent of this thesis is to examine whether the Supreme Court has successfully upheld its duty to promote a fair judicial system by allowing the medicate to execute scheme to continue. Through the analysis of case law, law review articles, and the American Constitution, this thesis will evaluate the treatment of condemned inmates who show signs of incompetence. Through analysis, this thesis aims to raise awareness to an issue that, in the opinion of this writer, deserves the attention of American courts and other governing bodies.
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Cronon, C. Chad
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Health and Public Affairs
Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs;Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Schultz, Adam, "Medicate to execute constitutional and ethical considerations" (2012). HIM 1990-2015. 1301.