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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Wayne Lee Palmer had had a long history of involvement with federal authorities. In October 2003, he entered the clerk of court’s office for the Middle District of Louisiana, demanding to know why his pro se lawsuit had been dismissed. He became irate, and someone in the clerk’s office called court security. As Palmer was leaving the building, he threatened to kill a court security officer (CSO) who had attempted to retrieve his visitor’s badge. Federal authorities, including FBI Agent McNulty, subsequently went to Palmer’s house to arrest him. Though Palmer initially resisted, he was eventually subdued and arrested; he had a semi-automatic handgun in his back pocket. On Oct. 29, 2003, authorities indicted Palmer on one count of threatening to murder a federal official, in violation of 18 U.S.C. �115(a)(1)(B). Authorities found him to be incompetent to stand trial and committed him to Butner Federal Medical Center (Butner FMC) for a mental health evaluation. Dr. Angela Walden-Weaver, a clinical psychologist, and Dr. Robert Lucking, a psychiatrist, issued a report of their evaluation in August 2004, concluding that Palmer was suffering from a delusional disorder. Authorities then evaluated Palmer to determine whether he was eligible for civil commitment under 18 U.S.C. �4246. During that evaluation, he stated that he had no interest in acquiring another weapon, and based on that statement, as well as community support and his lack of a violent history, the clinicians found that Palmer’s release would not create a substantial risk of bodily injury to another person or serious damage to the property of others. Authorities dismissed the indictment against Palmer on Nov. 19, 2004. Less than a month later, Palmer bought a gun at a pawn shop in Baton Rouge. On the form accompanying the purchase, he falsely answered “no” to the question of whether he had ever been adjudicated mentally incompetent or committed to a mental institution. On May 12, 2005, U.S. marshals, when securing the campus of Louisiana State University Law School for a Federal Bar Association seminar scheduled to be held there, found Palmer sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle in the parking lot. When the marshals approached the vehicle and requested to speak with him, Palmer stated: “I know who you are, and I am calling the police.” The marshals observed a gun on the front passenger seat, drew their weapons and ordered Palmer out of the car. He disobeyed and instead began driving away. The marshals pursued and apprehended him. After they placed him under arrest, the marshals searched his vehicle, finding a firearm as well as a box of pistol ammunition and a loaded pistol magazine. On May 26, 2005, authorities indicted Palmer on one count of possession of a firearm by a person adjudicated mentally defective, in violation of 18 U.S.C. �922(a)(6), and one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a person that has been adjudicated as mentally defective and committed to a mental institution, in violation of 18 U.S.C. �922(g)(4). Palmer’s appointed counsel filed a motion to determine competency and notice of intent to use the insanity defense. The district court appointed Dr. John Thompson, Jr. to examine Palmer and file a report with the court. In his report, Thompson found that Palmer was incompetent to stand trial, because he did not have a complete awareness of the charges against him, nor did he appreciate the seriousness of the charges. Thompson diagnosed Palmer with a form of schizophrenia. His report concluded that Palmer presented a danger to the public and recommended that he be returned to Butner FMC with an order for forced medication. On Aug. 18, 2005, the district court remanded Palmer to the custody of the attorney general for an evaluation of his competency to stand trial. Palmer returned to Butner FMC, where doctors diagnosed him with a form of schizophrenia. In their report, the doctors recommended involuntary medication to render him competent to stand trial. Thereafter, Palmer filed a motion for a competency hearing, while the government filed a motion to involuntarily medicate Palmer to restore his competency for trial. The magistrate judge conducted a competency hearing on Feb. 2, 2006. The parties jointly introduced the reports from Palmer’s previous evaluations and stipulated that the sentencing guidelines range for the charged offenses was from 15 to 21 months. Lucking testified for the government, recommending that Palmer receive Haldol injections to restore competency. The magistrate judge issued a thorough and detailed report and recommendation where he found Palmer incompetent to stand trial and recommended involuntary medication to restore his competency. The district court adopted the magistrate judge’s recommendation and, over Palmer’s objection, granted the motion. Palmer appealed. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court first noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that inmates have an “important, constitutionally protected liberty interest in avoiding unwanted administration of antipsychotic drugs.” But the court also noted that in its 1990 decision of Washington v. Harper, the Supreme Court held that involuntary medication does not violate the due process clause if the inmate is a danger to himself or others and treatment is in the inmate’s medical interest. In a later case, the court noted that the Supreme Court declared that lower courts, when making such a determination must consider four factors: 1. whether important governmental interests are at stake; 2. whether involuntary medication will significantly further those interests; 3. whether involuntary medication is necessary to further those interests; and 4. whether the administration of the drugs is medically appropriate. As for the first two factors, the court found that an important governmental interest was at stake in ensuring that individuals accused of serious crimes are brought to trial and that involuntary medication would further that interest, because any side effects of the drugs would not substantially undermine Palmer’s defense. As for the third factor, the court turned to the last factor: whether forced medication was necessary to further the government’s interest. As for the fourth factor, Palmer did not contest the district court’s finding that the administration of drugs was medically appropriate. Because Palmer could only be brought to trial if he is competent, the court held that involuntary medication was necessary under the circumstances of this case. OPINION:Stewart, J.; Garwood, Jolly and Stewart, JJ.

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