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Sell v. United States

Docket No.: 02-5664
Certiorari Granted: Nov 4 2002
Argued: March 3, 2003
Decided: June 16, 2003


Due Process, Due Process, Administrative Procedure, Article I, Bivens action, Due Process, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Medicaid, Sixth Amendment, Speech or Debate Clause, habeas, judicial review, murder, patent, privacy, qualified immunity, sentencing guidelines

PartyNames: Charles Thomas Sell v. United States
Petitioner: Charles Thomas Sell
Respondent: United States

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
Citation: CA 8, 282 F.3d 560. QUESTIONS PRESENTED 1. Whether the government can violate an innocent individual's fundamental rightto bodily integrity by injecting him with permanently mind-altering psychotropic drugs against his will solely because it believes there is a chance to medicate theindividual into drug-induced "competence" for trial? 2. Whether the government's effort to forc ibly medicate an innocent person, solely for the purpose of attempting to make him "competent" to stand trial, is reviewed under a strict scrutiny standard or under one of the lower standards, whichstandards are both recited in the conflicting lower court and appellate court
Lower Court Decision
Supreme Court Docket

Charles Thomas Sell
United States
539 U.S. 166 (2003)
Consideration Limited:

Limited to the following question: Whether the Court of Appeals error in rejecting petitioner's argument thatallowing the government to administer antipsychotic medication against his will solely to render him competent to stand trial for non-violent offenses would violate his rights under the First, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments.


May the Federal Government administer antipsychotic drugs involuntarily to a mentally ill criminal defendant in order to render that defendant competent to stand trial for serious, but nonviolent, crimes?

Sell v. United States

March 3, 2003

Holding: vacated and remanded
Decision: Decision: 6 votes for Sell, 3 vote(s) against

Sell v. United States
Case Documents

1Opinion in Sell v. United States
2Opinion in Sell v. United States
Additional documents for this case are pending review.