TX Court: Death Row Inmate Can’t be Forcibly Medicated to Allow Execution


Steven Staley, a mentally ill Texas death row inmate, cannot be forcibly medicated for the purpose of making him competent for execution; and without medication, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decided, he is not competent to be executed, reports the Texas Tribune. “We hold that the evidence conclusively shows that appellant’s competency to be executed was achieved solely through the involuntary medication, which the trial court had no authority to order under the competency-to-be-executed statute,” said Judge Elsa Alcala.

Staley fatally shot a restaurant manager in 1989. He has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. “He believes there is a big conspiracy orchestrated by the state and that everybody, everybody, is part of the conspiracy,” said his attorney, John Stickels. “It’s not civilized to forcibly medicate someone to get them competent so you can execute them.,” Prosecutor Jim Gibson said that without medication, Staley will be left trapped with the demons in his head. “We've always thought it was unfortunate that because of his actions he's consigning himself into a descent into madness,” Gibson said.

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