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DENVER (AP) — A mental patient accused of killing three people in 2015 at a Colorado family planning clinic for offering abortion services will not be forcibly medicated as he appeals the order of a federal judge authorizing the involuntary treatment.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn ruled that involuntary medication was the only realistic approach with a substantial chance of making 64-year-old Robert Dear fit to stand trial and was also in the best interest of his overall health, both mental and physical.
Dear’s attorneys appealed the order to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and on Monday Blackburn ruled that Dear would not be medicated against her will while the appeal is considered, which could take several months . Federal prosecutors did not object to the order being stayed, according to court records.
Dear’s federal public defenders challenged the involuntary medication order in part because it also permits the use of force to cause Dear to take medication or undergo monitoring for any potential side effects to her physical health.
Dear’s lawyers argued that forcing Dear to be treated for her delusional disorder could worsen conditions such as untreated high blood pressure and high cholesterol. However, in the appeal, they say Blackburn’s decision to grant prison doctors the right to coerce the treatment or monitoring of other ailments is “miles away” from the limited uses of coercive medication authorized by the Supreme Court of the United States.
The appeal noted that the last forced drug order reviewed by the 10th Circuit took three months to resolve.
Lawsuits against Dear have stalled, first in state court and then in federal court, as he has been repeatedly declared mentally incapable to stand trial since his arrest and has refused to take medication. .
In a three-day hearing this summer on whether he should be forcibly medicated, prosecutors argued that the drugs had a substantial likelihood, based on research and the experience of government experts, of making Dear well enough to respond to the legal standard of mental capacity – to be able to understand the proceedings and to assist in his defence.