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Judge Orders Forcible Medication For Accused CO Clinic Gunman

In November 2015, a gunman drove up to a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood office and opened fire before storming in and continuing to shoot. Three people were killed, and nine were injured. Robert Lewis Dear Jr., the man charged,, allegedly muttered “no more baby parts” while being taken into custody. Dear, a self-proclaimed “warrior for the babies,” was charged with 179 crimes, including murder and attempted murder. Nearly seven years after the massacre, Dear — who suffers from a form of delusional disorder — has been repeatedly deemed incompetent to stand trial. This week, U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn ruled that the government can force Dear, 64, to take antipsychotic medication that experts said is likely to make him competent to stand federal trial, reports the Washington Post. Competence is measured by a defendant’s ability to understand the consequences of the case and assist in the defense.

Medical experts have determined that Dear’s competence could not be restored without medication, prosecutors said. He has refused to take the medication. In December, prosecutors moved to have that medication given to Dear against his will, so that a trial may have a chance at proceeding. On Monday, Blackburn sided with the prosecution, finding that Dear’s health is likely to not be negatively affected by the medication and that prosecutors had a “important interest” in seeing the case move forward. He said the medication should be administered “involuntarily and forcibly if necessary.” Since 2003, there have been more than 130 federal cases in which a judge considered a motion for involuntary medication of a defendant, Slate reported in June. In 62 percent of the cases, the motion was granted. Susan McMahon, a clinical law professor at Arizona State University who has studied the forcible medication orders, said that in most cases, the courts have interpreted the legal test under a Supreme Court ruling too broadly. That leaves some defendants with mental illness facing nonviolent charges being forcibly medicated, she said.


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