Bryson McCollum

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In United States v. Diaz, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in a case of first impression, determined whether the state met its burden in applying the United States Supreme Court's test articulated in Sell v. United States, to involuntarily medicate an incompetent, schizophrenic defendant. Based on the Sell test that was established in 2003, the court of appeals had to determine which evidentiary findings were sufficient to meet the clear and convincing evidence standard allowing the State of Georgia to forcibly medicate the appellant, Michael Diaz. The court of appeals found no clear error in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia's decision to involuntarily medicate Diaz based on evidence of Diaz's uncooperative behavior and testimony concerning the effectiveness of alternatives. While involuntary medication may be Diaz's only chance at restoring trial competency, the Eleventh Circuit ultimately made its decision based on impersonal statistics lacking any practical guidelines.