U.S. v. Brandon, No. 97-3812

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtGILMAN
Citation158 F.3d 947
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Ralph E. BRANDON, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 97-3812
Decision Date23 October 1998

Page 947

158 F.3d 947
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Ralph E. BRANDON, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 97-3812.
United States Court of Appeals,
Sixth Circuit.
Argued March 11, 1998.
Decided Oct. 23, 1998.

Page 949

Gary D. Arbeznik, Asst. U.S. Attorney (argued), Nancy L. Kelley (briefed), Office of U.S. Attorney, Cleveland, OH, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Gregory L. Poe (argued and briefed), Assistant Federal Public Defender's Office for District of Columbia, Washington, DC, for Defendant-Appellant.

Before: KEITH, RYAN, and GILMAN, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

GILMAN, Circuit Judge.

Ralph E. Brandon, currently in jail awaiting trial on the criminal charge of sending a threatening letter through the mail, appeals from the district court's order denying him a judicial hearing on the issue of whether he may be forcibly medicated with antipsychotic drugs in order to render him competent to stand trial. The government asserts that Brandon's interlocutory appeal is premature and lacking in merit. For the reasons that follow, we find that appellate review is appropriate and hold that Brandon is entitled to a judicial hearing to decide whether he may be forcibly medicated. We therefore REVERSE the district court's ruling and REMAND the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

I. BACKGROUND

On October 1, 1996, Brandon was indicted on the charge of sending a threatening communication

Page 950

to a "C. Bailey" through the mail in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 876. Brandon's attorney moved for a court-ordered competency evaluation. On November 20, 1996, the district court granted the motion and placed Brandon in the custody of the Attorney General for a psychiatric examination to determine whether Brandon was competent to stand trial. An evaluation was conducted in February of 1997 by the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky ("FMC Lexington"). A forensic psychologist at FMC Lexington diagnosed Brandon as a paranoid schizophrenic, and concluded that he is "mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense."

On March 4, 1997, the district court held a competency hearing. Based on the psychiatric evaluation report and the agreement of counsel, the district court concluded that Brandon was not competent to stand trial. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241(d), the district court then committed Brandon to the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota ("FMC Rochester") for a determination of whether there was "a substantial probability that in the foreseeable future defendant will attain the capacity to permit the trial to proceed." The district court instructed the Bureau of Prison's ("BOP") hospital at FMC Rochester that it could not involuntarily administer Brandon antipsychotic medication without the approval of the district court.

On April 9, 1997, FMC Rochester sent the district court an Admission Psychiatric Evaluation Addendum ("APEA"), recommending that Brandon be given antipsychotic medication, which Brandon had refused to take. The APEA concluded as follows: "His multidisciplinary team concurs with the diagnosis of Delusional Disorder and the need for antipsychotic medication as the least restrictive alternative to restore him to competency." FMC Rochester further reminded the district court that the medication would be administered only after the hospital held an administrative hearing pursuant to 28 C.F.R. § 549.43, and upon direction from the district court.

Brandon then moved for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the hospital could force him to take antipsychotic mediation. He further requested that a guardian ad litem be appointed to represent his interests if, in addition to being found incompetent to stand trial, he were found functionally incompetent. The district court denied the motion on July 18, 1997, holding that an administrative hearing conducted by the hospital on the medication issue would suffice to protect Brandon's due process rights. The district court did not address Brandon's request for the appointment of a guardian ad litem.

Brandon thereafter appealed from the district court's order, and filed an emergency application for a stay pending the appeal. On July 31, 1997, this court issued an order refusing to stay the district court's order to the extent that it allowed the BOP's administrative hearing to proceed, but granted a stay that prohibited the administration of antipsychotic medication without prior approval by this court.

On November 4, 1997, FMC Rochester's Warden sent a letter to the district court reporting that an administrative hearing was conducted on July 30, 1997. The hearing officer concluded that Brandon should be forcibly medicated with antipsychotic drugs.

II. ISSUES PRESENTED

Brandon's appeal presents two issues: (1) whether the district court's order constitutes a collateral order and is thus immediately appealable under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and (2) whether the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment requires a judicial hearing to determine whether a non-dangerous pretrial detainee can be forcibly medicated in order to render him competent to stand trial.

III. APPELLATE JURISDICTION

The government argues that this court lacks appellate jurisdiction because no final decision has been rendered in the court below. For the reasons that follow, we disagree. An appellate court may entertain appeals only from "final decisions." See 28 U.S.C. § 1291. An interlocutory order, however, may be considered a "final decision"

Page 951

under § 1291 if it constitutes a "collateral order" as defined in Cohen v. Beneficial Industrial Loan Corporation, 337 U.S. 541, 546, 69 S.Ct. 1221, 93 L.Ed. 1528 (1949). To be a "final" collateral order, the order must: (1) "conclusively determine the disputed question," (2) "resolve an important issue completely separate from the merits of the action," and (3) "be effectively unreviewable on appeal from a final judgment." United States v. Davis, 873 F.2d 900, 908 (6th Cir.1989) (quoting Coopers & Lybrand v. Livesay, 437 U.S. 463, 468, 98 S.Ct. 2454, 57 L.Ed.2d 351 (1978)); see also Digital Equipment Corp. v. Desktop Direct, Inc., 511 U.S. 863, 867, 114 S.Ct. 1992, 128 L.Ed.2d 842 (1994) ("The collateral order doctrine is best understood not as an exception to the 'final decision' rule ... but as a 'practical construction' of it....").

As to the first point, the government contends that the disputed issue has not been conclusively determined because the district court did not decide if antipsychotic medication should be forcibly administered to Brandon. Whether Brandon may be forcibly medicated, however, is not the issue presently on appeal. The issue to be determined is what procedural safeguards must be provided in a hearing to make that decision. The district court has conclusively decided that a BOP administrative hearing under 28 C.F.R. § 549.43 will satisfy due-process requirements and that a judicial hearing is not required. This issue has therefore been conclusively decided by the district court.

Second, the order being appealed is separate from the merits of the criminal action against Brandon for sending a threatening communication through the mail. The issue on appeal is whether a BOP administrative hearing provides sufficient due process to determine whether antipsychotic medication can be forcibly administered to Brandon in order to render him competent to stand trial.

Third, the order in question would be effectively unreviewable on appeal after a final judgment has been rendered in the criminal trial. Because the order relates to the administration of drugs in order restore Brandon's competency to stand trial, it would be of little value to Brandon for this court to review his due-process claim after he has been forcibly medicated and the trial has concluded. See United States v. Davis, 93 F.3d 1286, 1289 (6th Cir.1996) ("[L]oss of liberty occasioned by the commitment for examination, and the forced intrusion of a court-ordered psychiatric examination, are completely unreviewable by the time of final judgment. Appellate review after final judgment would be available only if the defendant is found guilty, and even then, no effective relief could be provided for her loss of liberty during the period of commitment.").

We may therefore properly exercise jurisdiction over Brandon's appeal to decide whether the district court erred in holding that a BOP administrative hearing under 28 C.F.R. § 549.43 is sufficient to protect Brandon's due-process rights.

IV. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT

In Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 99 S.Ct. 1861, 60 L.Ed.2d 447 (1979), the Supreme Court established that the presumption of innocence afforded pretrial detainees does not immunize them from reasonable restraints related to their confinement. Id. at 534, 99 S.Ct. 1861. Addressing the conditions affecting non-fundamental rights, the Court explained that the restraints are constitutional unless they amount to punishment. Id. at 536-37, 99 S.Ct. 1861.

Less than one month after Bell was decided, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584, 99 S.Ct. 2493, 61 L.Ed.2d 101 (1979), holding that Georgia's mental-health laws regarding involuntary civil commitment proceedings provided sufficient procedural safeguards for minors. See id. at 607, 99 S.Ct. 2493. The Court weighed the child's substantial liberty interest in avoiding unnecessary confinement against the state's parens patriae interest in protecting the welfare of the child. See id. at 604-05, 99 S.Ct. 2493; see also BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY 1114 (6th ed. 1991) (" 'Parens patriae,' literally 'parent of the country,' refers traditionally to role of state as sovereign and guardian of persons under legal disability, such as juveniles or the insane."). The Court rejected the need for a judicial hearing

Page 952

on what it held was...

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50 practice notes
  • Guertin v. State, Nos. 17-1698/1699/1745/1752/1769
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • January 4, 2019
    ...vis-à-vis government interest line of cases has played out time and time again in the lower courts. See, e.g. , United States v. Brandon , 158 F.3d 947, 953 (6th Cir. 1998) ("[T]he issue of forced medication implicates ... [the] liberty interest in being free from bodily intrusion.").3 The ......
  • U.S. v. Green, No. 06-6186.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • July 16, 2008
    ...it did in this case. See Sell, 539 U.S. at 181-183, 123 S.Ct. 2174. Further, in his initial brief, Green cited United States v. Brandon, 158 F.3d 947, 957 (6th Cir.1998) which adopted a strict scrutiny standard when considering whether a defendant should be involuntarily medicated to restor......
  • United States v. Loughner, Nos. 11–10339
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • March 5, 2012
    ...of Harper or those of Sell—depends on the purpose for which the Government seeks to medicate the defendant.”); United States v. Brandon, 158 F.3d 947, 957 (6th Cir.1998) ( “ Harper's rationale is based upon the premise that if the government's action focuses primarily on matters of prison a......
  • In re Robert S., No. 2-02-0262.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 30, 2003
    ...282 F.3d 560 (8th Cir.2002), vacated & remanded, 539 U.S. ____, 123 S.Ct. 2174, 156 L.Ed.2d 197 (2003), and United States v. Brandon, 158 F.3d 947 (6th Cir.1998). In Gomes, Sell, and Brandon, the courts addressed whether the government could forcibly administer psychotropic medication for t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
51 cases
  • Guertin v. State, Nos. 17-1698/1699/1745/1752/1769
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • January 4, 2019
    ...vis-à-vis government interest line of cases has played out time and time again in the lower courts. See, e.g. , United States v. Brandon , 158 F.3d 947, 953 (6th Cir. 1998) ("[T]he issue of forced medication implicates ... [the] liberty interest in being free from bodily intrusion.").3 The ......
  • U.S. v. Green, No. 06-6186.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • July 16, 2008
    ...it did in this case. See Sell, 539 U.S. at 181-183, 123 S.Ct. 2174. Further, in his initial brief, Green cited United States v. Brandon, 158 F.3d 947, 957 (6th Cir.1998) which adopted a strict scrutiny standard when considering whether a defendant should be involuntarily medicated to restor......
  • United States v. Loughner, Nos. 11–10339
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • March 5, 2012
    ...of Harper or those of Sell—depends on the purpose for which the Government seeks to medicate the defendant.”); United States v. Brandon, 158 F.3d 947, 957 (6th Cir.1998) ( “ Harper's rationale is based upon the premise that if the government's action focuses primarily on matters of prison a......
  • In re Robert S., No. 2-02-0262.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 30, 2003
    ...282 F.3d 560 (8th Cir.2002), vacated & remanded, 539 U.S. ____, 123 S.Ct. 2174, 156 L.Ed.2d 197 (2003), and United States v. Brandon, 158 F.3d 947 (6th Cir.1998). In Gomes, Sell, and Brandon, the courts addressed whether the government could forcibly administer psychotropic medication for t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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