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
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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