June 16

Supreme Court Halts Forced Drugging – AAPS Press Release

Supreme Court Halts Forced Drugging – AAPS Press Release

Mon, 16 Jun 2003

The Supreme Court rules against government efforts to force citizens to take mind-altering psychotropic drugs against their will.

The 6 to 3 Supreme Court decision overturned lower district and appellate courts in the case of Dr. Charles T. Sells, a St. Louis dentist who was accused of Medicare fraud, and who was imprisoned for five years without a trial.

The Alliance for Human Research Protection applauds The Association of American Physicians & Surgeons for taking a strong stance against the government efforts to force psychotropic drugs on citizens, by filing an amicus curiae brief. We concur with AAPS statement:

“We used to complain when the Communists engaged in such tactics. This should not occur in America.”


Supreme Court Rules–AAPS Helps Overturn Forced Drugging Order

Kathryn Serkes

June 16, 2003


Washington, D.C. — The Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (“AAPS”) has helped stop the forced drugging of a citizen by the federal government. In a 6-3 decision rendered today, the Supreme Court sided with AAPS and reversed the order to drug a St. Louis dentist accused of Medicaid fraud.

Dr. Charles Thomas Sell, never convicted of a crime, has been held in a brutal prison for more than five years without a trial. Earlier a federal district court had ordered the injection of Dr. Sell with mind-altering drugs against his will, and a divided Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit had affirmed.

“Never did we think our own country would imprison a peaceful defendant for more than five years without a trial,” commented AAPS General Counsel Andrew Schlafly. “We are gratified that the Supreme Court sees no justification in the record for forcibly drugging him. We used to complain when the Communists engaged in such tactics. This should not occur in America.”

The Court adopted three arguments advanced in AAPS’s amicus curiae brief before the High Court. First, Dr. Sell’s long imprisonment without trial reduces any interest by the government to drug him. Second, the Court ruled that the “specific kinds of drugs at issue may matter here as elsewhere.” AAPS complained about how the district court had ordered drugging without limitation on quantity and type. Third, courts must consider less intrusive alternatives to forced drugging, as another appellate court had done.

Dr. Sell, a dentist, was originally arrested based on charges of violating Medicaid regulations in caring for the poor. Had he been tried and convicted, he would have already served the full term of a sentence.

Even though upholding the drugging, both the district and appellate courts admitted that Dr. Sell posed no danger to himself or any others. Yet he has been imprisoned, often in solitary confinement, under the threat of unlimited drugging. His treatment in jail has included videotaped scalding by officials, yet the government refuses to release a complete copy of the tape. Dr. Sell was featured in an expose on NBC’s “Dateline” program on June 13th.

NOTE: Background information and the AAPS brief are posted at www.aapsonline.org


AAPS is a non-partisan professional association of physicians in all specialties, dedicated since 1943 to the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship.

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9
Tucson, AZ 85716
(800) 635-1196
(520) 325-4230 Fax

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