Judge Tena Campbell – Order regarding competency and involuntary medication
U.S.A. v. Benjamin Archuleta
August 25, 2006
Judge Tena Campbell has ordered that a Utah man, Benjamin Archuleta, diagnosed with schizophrenia, be forcibly medicated in an effort to make him competent to stand trial on a weapons charge.
Benjamin Archuleta was originally charged with threatening the life of Judge David Sam in 1998. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was hospitalized. In November 2000, Mr. Archuleta was released from hospitalization, but later violated those conditions and was comitted to a “half way house” in June 2002. In February 2005, the court terminated the supervision of Mr. Archuleta and he was again released.
In late 2005, the U.S. Marshal Service learned that Mr. Archuleta attempted to purchase a firearm and lied on a required background check form.
Magistrate Judge Wells determined in March 2006 that defendant was not competent to stand trial on the new weapons charge. That same month, the Court ordered a psychiatric evluation regarding the possibility of involuntary medication to restore competency.
Judge Campbell determined that involuntary medication is appropriate since: (1) important governmental interests are at stake; (2) involuntary medication of the defendant will likely further the government’s important interests and will be unlikely to have side effects that will interfere with the defendant’s right to assist trial counsel in his defense, thereby making the trial unfair; (3) involuntary medication is necessary to further the government’s interest, meaning no other less intrusive means will achieve substantially the same results; and (4) administration of antipsychotic drugs is medically appropriate, or in the best interest of the defendant given his current medical condition.
As reported by the Salt Lake Tribune: “(Mr. Archuleta) considers himself to be a political prisoner and has asked for a clean bill of health and a grant of diplomatic immunity.”