The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Petitioner-Appellee IN the INTEREST OF R.F., Respondent-Appellant.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
County District Court No. 19MH34, Honorable Jill S. Mattoon,
Cynthia Mitchell, County Attorney, Kate H. Shafer, Special
Assistant County Attorney, Pueblo, Colorado, for
Firm of John L. Rice, John L. Rice, Pueblo, Colorado, for
1] Sell v. United States, 539 U.S. 166, 123
S.Ct. 2174, 156 L.Ed.2d 197 (2003), established a four-part
test for evaluating petitions to involuntarily administer
antipsychotic medication to render the respondent competent
to stand trial. In this case, we adopt the framework as set
out by the Supreme Court, thus disagreeing with another
division of this court, People in Interest of
Hardesty, 2014 COA 138, 410 P.3d 553, which framed the
test as having eight parts.
2] Respondent, R.F., appeals the district courts
order allowing doctors at the state mental health hospital to
involuntarily administer antipsychotic medication for the
purpose of restoring him to competency to stand trial.
Because he expressly concedes the sufficiency of the evidence
to support the district courts order, we affirm.
3] The People charged R.F. with second degree
assault. The district court ordered a competency evaluation,
and, in July 2018, R.F. was diagnosed by a psychiatrist at
the state mental health hospital with "psychosis —
not otherwise specified" and found incompetent to stand
4] In January 2019, after other restoration efforts
proved unsuccessful, the People petitioned the court under
section 16-8.5-112(1), C.R.S. 2018, for permission to
involuntarily administer antipsychotic medications and to
monitor any side effects. The district court held an
evidentiary hearing on the petition.
5] R.F. and his treating psychiatrist, Dr. Lennart
Abel, testified at the hearing. Dr. Abel offered expert
testimony that R.F. suffered from persistent delusions and
was unlikely to be rendered competent without antipsychotic
medications. He opined that the medications the People sought
to involuntarily administer were substantially likely to
render R.F. competent, but he did not provide any basis for
his conclusion, other than a brief reference to
"somebody who suffer[ed] from psychosis not otherwise
specified" whom he had once restored to competency.
6] Dr. Abel acknowledged that R.F. had not
previously taken antipsychotic medication and that he did not
know "how [R.F. was] going to react to these
medications." He conceded that R.F. might be part of the
"small group" of patients with delusional disorders
who do not respond to antipsychotic medication; in that
event, Dr. Abel testified, he would "try other
medications, other antipsychotic medications that are not
currently on this list."
7] R.F. testified that he had refused the medication
because he disagreed with Dr. Abels diagnosis and treatment
plan. He said he would not consider taking the medications
voluntarily until he received a second opinion.
8] The district court found that the People had met
their burden to show that administration of the medication
was necessary to advance the states interest in restoring