Forcible Medication of Mentally Ill Criminal Defendants: The Case of Russell Eugene Weston, Jr. (Notes)

By Feinberg, Aimee | Stanford Law Review, April 2002 | Go to article overview

Forcible Medication of Mentally Ill Criminal Defendants: The Case of Russell Eugene Weston, Jr. (Notes)


Feinberg, Aimee, Stanford Law Review


INTRODUCTION

In his prison cell in North Carolina, he picks at sores and insists that the ripening of corn causes time to reverse. (1) Once convinced that he was the favorite son of President John F. Kennedy and the target of a communist murder plot, (2) Russell Eugene Weston, Jr. lives physically in a federal correctional institution in Burner, North Carolina. (3) Mentally, he lives in world of his own creation.

In 1996, Weston, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia years earlier, (4) arrived at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters just outside of Washington, D.C. and introduced himself as an operative named "the Moon." (5) In suit-and-tie, he calmly explained the Ruby Surveillance System that he had created while working at NASA. (6) Constructed of a ruby, a watch, and a small wheel, this covert satellite system could reverse the march of time. (7) Fifty minutes later, after explaining his cloning at birth, but never threatening the life of the President, Weston was sent on his way. (8)

Two years later, on July 24, 1998, Weston returned to the national capital area--this time armed and ready to stop the work of the Ruby Surveillance System. (9) Cannibals had overused the system, he believed, and had spawned the development and spread of "Black Heva," a plague-like disease that could kill over one-third of America's population, (10) Weston was determined to reach the override switch located in the "great safe of the U.S. Senate" and halt the spread of "Black Heva." (11)

Running through the security magnetometers positioned in the entrance of the U.S. Capitol Building, Weston opened fire with a .38-caliber revolver, fatally shooting Capitol Hill Police Officers Jacob J. Chestnut and John M. Gibson. (12) Injured in the ensuing exchange of gun fire, Weston was taken into custody at the scene and charged with two counts of capital murder, attempted murder, and firearms offenses. (13)

With two federal law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, harsh and swirl punishment was sure to follow. But today, three years after the murders, Weston has not yet been tried for his alleged crimes. Instead, government prosecutors, Weston's lawyers, and six federal judges have been grappling with the critical, but largely unanswered question on which Weston's fate hinged: May the government, and, if so, under what circumstances, constitutionally administer psychotropic medication to a mentally ill criminal defendant against his will for the purpose of rendering him competent for trial?

Once incarcerated immediately after his deadly rampage, Weston refused to take antipsychotic medication to tame the symptoms of his schizophrenia, (14) and in April 1999, D.C. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan declared Weston incompetent for trial. (15) In response, the government sought court permission to forcibly medicate Weston in the hope that drug treatment would restore his competence to stand trial. Fearing that a trial would lead to an inevitable death sentence, Weston's attorneys fought prosecutors every step of the way.

Certainly Weston is not the first defendant to enter the legal labyrinth of forcible administration of psychotropic medicine. (16) But with two law enforcement officers dead, the security of the U.S. Congress breached, the death penalty on the table, and a severely delusional defendant willing to fight a drawn-out legal battle, the dramatic nature of this case has turned Russell Weston into the "poster boy" (17) for the issue of forcible medication of mentally incompetent criminal defendants.

This Note examines Weston's legal journey and the complex legal questions raised by the forcible medication of incompetent criminal defendants. Part I outlines current Supreme Court doctrine on this issue. Part II explores the application of this doctrine to Weston's case. Part III analyzes the most recent, and final, opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and concludes that this decision established new law that likely will give government prosecutors considerable latitude to forcibly medicate non-dangerous, mentally ill criminal defendants in order to bring them to trial. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Forcible Medication of Mentally Ill Criminal Defendants: The Case of Russell Eugene Weston, Jr. (Notes)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.