Richard Whitman's Threats

Good Essays
The Atlanta Falcons, Alabama Crimson Tide, Cleveland Indians, and Golden State Warriors, and the United States Government. What do they all have in common? Over the last year, they each managed to blow a big advantage and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when the stakes were the highest. In spite of its resources, the United States Government failed to obtain a sanction against a mentally ill defendant, Richard Whitman and jeopardized the safety of Nina Schmidt, the alleged victim of his threats. Since Mr. Whitman was declared incompetent to stand trial and had refused to take medication, the government motioned to forcibly medicate him and had to satisfy the Sell Test to do so. The test consists of standards recognized by the Supreme…show more content…
The scientific study that it presented was over 10 years old, held in low regard by prior courts, and had a weakness observed by its own medical witness Given the absence of a control group, a very small sample size, and its datedness, the study would have not have stood up at a high school science fair, and should not have stood up in court. Furthermore, the government’s witness could not use his medical experience to support the government’s venture, because his patients were not proven to be similar enough to Mr. Whitman. Finally, the government tried to use an incomplete medical record to justify the forced medication of Mr. Whitman. The record showed that he had been handed the drugs the government wanted to use on him but did little to show evidence that they had actually been…show more content…
Even then, it had a chance to secure a win through civil commitment and failed to do that as well. Critics may complain that the standard that the Supreme Court has set are too high and blame the court for the government’s failures to ensure Ms. Schmidt’s safety. That is like blaming the refs for a loss after a team drops a pass in the end zone that would have won the game, and missing the 40yd field goal to tie or win the game as time expires. Whitman’s case posed challenges and the standards that needed to be met were high, but the government knew how the game was to be played, and failed to deliver when it counted most. It has no one but itself to
Get Access