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People v. In re Hardesty

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Seventh Division

October 9, 2014

The People of the State of Colorado, Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
In the Interest of Christian Wayne Hardesty, Respondent-Appellant.

Pueblo County District Court No. 14MH199 Honorable William D. Alexander, Judge.

Gregory J. Styduhar, County Attorney, David A. Roth, Special Assistant County Attorney, Pueblo, Colorado, for Petitioner-Appellee

The Law Firm of John L. Rice, John L. Rice, Pueblo, Colorado, for Respondent-Appellant

OPINION

TERRY JUDGE

¶ 1 Respondent, Christian Wayne Hardesty, appeals an order of the district court to involuntarily administer medications to him so that he may be rendered competent to be tried for the crimes of which he is accused. In this opinion, we address the application of Sell v. United States, 539 U.S. 166 (2003), to the district court's order, and we affirm the order.

I. Background

¶ 2 Hardesty was sent to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo (CMHIP) after he was found incompetent to proceed in two criminal cases that were filed against him, and he remains there. While he has been at CMHIP, Hardesty has refused to take antipsychotic medications, and the People petitioned to have such medications involuntarily administered to him to render him competent to proceed in the criminal cases.

¶ 3 After holding a hearing and receiving testimony from Hardesty and his treating physician, the district court found that the following facts had been proved by clear and convincing evidence: • Hardesty is facing serious criminal charges of robbery and two counts of third degree assault, but has been found incompetent to proceed.

• Hardesty suffers from a mental illness and has refused to take medications prescribed by his treating physician.
• The criminal charges cannot be resolved until Hardesty's competency is restored.
• Hardesty is unlikely to be restored to competency without the prescribed medications.
• The medications prescribed by the treating physician are medically appropriate for the treatment of Hardesty's mental disorder.
• The prescribed medications are unlikely to have side effects that will interfere significantly with Hardesty's ability to assist his defense counsel at trial.
• The medications will not cause Hardesty's criminal trials to be unfair.
• Involuntary administration of medications is necessary to further the interests of the state in bringing Hardesty to trial on ...

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