The legal battle over whether accused Elizabeth Smart kidnappers Brian David Mitchell and his estranged wife, Wanda Barzee, should be forcibly medicated to restore their competencies so they can each stand trial continues in 3rd District Court.
Late last week, the Salt Lake District Attorney's Office filed a supplemental memorandum in support of its petition to have Mitchell involuntarily medicated.
The state argues that Mitchell's right to due process was already fulfilled with the Sell hearing in September. Prosecutors further argue in their recently filed court documents that posing a danger to one's self or others is not a requirement for involuntary medication under the Utah Constitution.
Mitchell and Barzee are charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting Elizabeth Smart in June 2002. The trio was found nine months later walking along State Street in Sandy.
In September, 3rd District Judge Judith Atherton held a Sell hearing to determine if Mitchell was eligible to be forcibly medicated. A Sell hearing is named after the U.S. Supreme Court case that set the standard for involuntary medication.
Attorneys for both the prosecution and defense filed memorandums to support their cases in November. Now that supplemental memorandums have been submitted, Atherton will take them under advisement and issue a written decision at a later date.
Meanwhile, doctors at the Utah State Hospital have received a court order to begin administering anti-psychotic medication to Barzee. But the Division of Child and Family Services says doctors are holding off until Atherton rules on a motion by the defense to stay the forced medication order.
In 2006, a Sell hearing was held for Barzee. Atherton ruled in that case that Barzee was eligible for involuntary medication. The case was appealed to the Utah Supreme Court, which supported Atherton's decision on a 3-2 ruling.
Last week, the Utah State Hospital received the official court order allowing the involuntary medication process to begin. But Barzee's attorney's filed an appeal to stay the order, saying they were in the process of requesting the U.S. Supreme Court hear their client's case.A hearing on the defense's motion had not been scheduled as of Tuesday afternoon.
E-mail: [email protected]