Charles Singleton

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Charles Laverne Singleton was a convicted murderer who was put on death row for killing

store owner Mary Lou York in Hamburg. She died from loss of blood as a result of two stabs to her

neck. After his conviction record states he had schizophrenia. He was legally sane when on his

medication, but there were also times he refused to take his medication which results in paranoia.

The argument is, should the state force metal ill prisoners to take antipsychotic drugs to make

them sane enough for execution?

Washington vs. Harper’s law allows prison authorities to medicate mentally

ill inmates against their will if they become danger to self or others, in that case, Charles

Singleton was. When he’s on his medication, he was completely aware of his situations and

Consequences but when he wasn’t he believed that someone’s trying to get him or he’s trying

to get them. Being off the medication made him become a threat to other people and

himself, and was forced to take his antipsychotic medication. Singleton's execution had been

scheduled five times but in his final appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that he was taking

his medication voluntarily. The medication does not cure the patient it only relieves

symptoms- the opposing Judges Heany and Wollam argue over whether this is sanity

Liptak 2003) In the end, Singleton asked his attorney not to do anything that would block his

execution.

It took the Court five trials over 24 years, longer than any other state inmates before he

was executed by lethal injection. The death sentence for Singleton drew global attention

because he suffered from schizophrenia a mental illness that rendered him legally insane

without medication, and was considered legally sane only when treated with medication.

His attorney argued that the State could not alter Singleton's mental state with medication

in order to make him sane enough to be...
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