STATE v. CHRISTOPHER SEEKINS, SC 18467
Judicial District of Litchfield at G.A. 18
Criminal; Mental Competency; Whether Trial Court Properly Ordered Defendant who was Facing Charge of Sale of Illegal Drugs to be Forcibly Medicated to Restore Competency to Stand Trial. After police officers discovered about fifty marijuana plants and over eight pounds of marijuana at the defendant's home, the defendant was charged with several drug offenses, including the sale of illegal drugs and possession with intent to sell. Following a series of competency hearings, the trial court ordered that the defendant be forcibly medicated to render him competent to stand trial. Under General Statutes § 54-56d (k) (2), the trial court may authorize the involuntary medication of a defendant if it makes certain findings under a clear and convincing evidence standard. One of the findings the court must make is that "the seriousness of the alleged crime is such that the criminal law enforcement interest of the state in fairly and accurately determining the defendant's guilt or innocence overrides the defendant's interest in self-determination." On appeal, the defendant contends that the court improperly found that the seriousness of the crimes was such that the state's interest in prosecuting him outweighed his liberty interest in being free from being forcibly medicated. He asserts that the crimes he is charged with are not of a serious nature because his recreational use of marijuana does not pose a danger to himself or to society. The defendant further argues that the order to administer psychiatric medication violates his right to freedom of religion.