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Bean v. Matteucci

United States District Court, D. Oregon

December 5, 2018

TRAVIS LEROY BEAN, Petitioner,
v.
DOLLY MATTEUCCI, Respondent.

          Oliver W. Loewy, II Assistant Federal Public Defender

          Gordon Mallon PO Elizabeth JC Baker Attorneys for Petitioner

          Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General Kristen E. Boyd, Assistant Attorney General Department of Justice Attorneys for Respondent

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Marco A. Hernandez United States District Judge

         Petitioner brings this habeas corpus case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging a state-court order allowing his involuntary medication at the Oregon State Hospital (“OSH”) so as to restore his competency to stand trial. For the reasons that follow, the Petition is denied.

         BACKGROUND

         On September 6, 2016, Petitioner was charged by Information with two counts of Murder in Douglas County. On December 14, 2016, his attorneys alerted the Circuit Court to Petitioner's inability to proceed by reason of incapacity where Dr. Michelle Guyton found Petitioner to be suffering from a psychotic illness, most likely delusional disorder. On December 29, 2016, the Circuit Court found Petitioner unfit to proceed and committed him to the OSH for further evaluation and treatment.

         On March 9, 2017, Dr. Benjamin Goldstein of the OSH notified the Circuit Court that Petitioner was still unable to aid and assist in his own defense due to a delusional disorder. He was of the opinion that, with treatment including anti-psychotic medication, Petitioner might be competent within three to six months. Petitioner was unwilling to voluntarily take the prescribed medication, and Dr. Goldberg noted that because Petitioner did not demonstrate a danger to himself or others, he did not meet the OSH's criteria for involuntary medication.

         On March 23, 2017, Petitioner's treating physician, Dr. Tanaka, administratively applied for permission to forcibly medicate Petitioner, but an Administrative Law Judge determined that Petitioner did not meet the criteria for involuntary medications. As a result, on June 15, 2017, Dr. Goldberg submitted a second evaluation to the Douglas County Circuit Court in which he stated that there was no substantial probability that Petitioner would be restored to trial competence in the near future because: (1) delusional disorders do not improve on their own; and (2) the OSH lacked authority to forcibly administer the anti-psychotic medication that would alleviate Petitioner's symptoms where Petitioner did not pose a danger to himself or others.

         On August 15, 2017, the Douglas County District Attorney asked the Circuit Court to issue an order allowing Petitioner's forcible medication so as to restore his competency to stand trial. As a result, on April 19, 2018, the state court held a hearing where it evaluated the State's Motion pursuant to Sell v. United States, 539 U.S. 166 (2003). In Sell, the Supreme Court determined that the Constitution allows the Government to forcibly administer anti-psychotic drugs to a pretrial inmate, but only “if the treatment is medically appropriate, is substantially unlikely to have side effects that may undermine the fairness of the trial, and, taking account of less intrusive alternatives, is necessary significantly to further important governmental trial-related interests.” Id. at 179.

         One month after conducting the Sell hearing, the Circuit Court concluded that Petitioner's case satisfied Sell's factors. Consequently, on July 16, 2018, the Circuit Court entered an order allowing the State to involuntarily administer antipsychotic drugs to Petitioner so as to restore his competency to stand trial. The Sell order was not directly appealable, and Petitioner sought a writ of mandamus in the Oregon Supreme Court directing the Circuit Court to strike its Sell order, but the Oregon Supreme Court did not provide any relief. As a result, Petitioner filed this 28 U.S.C. § 2241 habeas corpus proceeding wherein he asks this Court to intervene and nullify the Circuit Court's Sell order.

         DISCUSSION

         In Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), the Supreme Court held that in the context of a pending state criminal prosecution, federal courts should abstain from enjoining those proceedings absent extraordinary circumstances. Id. at 53. “Younger abstention is a jurisprudential doctrine rooted in overlapping principles of equity, comity, and federalism.” San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee v. City of San Jose, 546 F.3d 1087, 1091 (9th Cir. 2008) (footnote omitted).

         A federal court must abstain under Younger if all of the following four requirements are met: “(1) a state-initiated proceeding is ongoing; (2) the proceeding implicates important state interests; (3) the federal plaintiff is not barred from litigating federal constitutional issues in the state proceeding; and (4) the federal court action would enjoin the proceeding or have the practical effect of doing so, i.e., would interfere with the state proceeding in a way that Younger disapproves.” Id. at 1092. If these factors are satisfied, a litigant can only circumvent Younger if he is able to make a “showing of bad faith, harassment, ...


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