United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTION TO DISMISS
A. Bolden United States District Judge
Jones is before this Court, because he has allegedly violated
the terms of his supervised release. Mr. Jones is currently
being supervised by the United States Probation Office for
the District of Connecticut ("Probation"), under 18
U.S.C. § 3605, as part of a criminal sentence imposed by
the United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts. Transfer of Jurisdiction, ECF No. 1-1 at
Mr. Jones has moved to dismiss the Petition for a Violation
of Supervised Release and terminate his supervised release.
Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 24. For the reasons that follow, the
motion is GRANTED, and his term of supervised release is
terminated, effective immediately.
raises several issues regarding Mr. Jones's compliance
with his supervised release conditions. First, Mr. Jones
allegedly violated the terms of his supervised release by
committing another offense. He was arrested on October 7,
2015 and charged with criminal trespass. Allegedly, Mr. Jones
had been sleeping in Union Station in Hartford, Connecticut
and refused to leave. Violation Rep., ECF No. 15 at 2. Mr.
Jones also claimed to be homeless at the time. Id.
In addition, Mr. Jones allegedly denied being on supervised
release, refused to meet with his Probation officer while in
state custody on the criminal trespass charge, failed to
notify Probation of a change in his residence or employment,
and stopped participating in mental health treatment.
Id. at 3-4.
the sentencing guidelines calculations provided by Probation,
Mr. Jones's alleged conduct, if true, would constitute a
Grade C violation, which when coupled with his original
criminal history category of VI, would result in a guideline
imprisonment range of eight to fourteen months. Id.
at 4; see also U.S.S.G. §§ 7B1.1;
7B.1.4(a). The parties have not voiced any objection to these
the resolution of the criminal trespass charge, Mr. Jones
remained in state custody from October 7, 2015 until November
4, 2015. Violation Rep., ECF No. 15 at 5. When the State
declined to prosecute his criminal trespass charge, it
transferred him into federal custody. Id. He has
remained in federal custody through the date of this ruling.
Including the time spent in state custody, Mr. Jones has been
detained for nearly ten months.
federal custody, Mr. Jones's lawyer requested a
competency evaluation and hearing on two occasions under 18
U.S.C. §§ 4241 and 4247. Mot. for Competency
Evaluation, ECF No. 11; Joint Mot. for Psychiatric
Examination, ECF No. 19. The Court granted the requests.
See Orders, ECF Nos. 14, 20. Because doctors had
difficulty conducting the examination of Mr. Jones, the
evaluation took longer than anticipated.
2, 2016, while the report on Mr. Jones's psychiatric
examination was still in the process of being completed, Mr.
Jones's counsel moved to dismiss the Petition for a
Violation of Supervised Release and asked that this Court
terminate his supervised release. Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No.
24. He argues that because Mr. Jones is mentally ill, he is
not competent to stand trial on the violation of his
supervised release and is not suitable for supervision.
Id. at 2.
29, 2016, the Court received a report, dated June 22, 2016,
from a forensic psychologist at the Bureau of Prisons. The
report opines that Mr. Jones is suffering from a major mental
illness and is not competent at this time to assist in his
defense and make rational decisions. The report also
indicates that, if the Court were to order that antipsychotic
medication be administered forcibly under 18 U.S.C. §
4241(d), the psychologist believes to a "substantial
probability" that Mr. Jones would regain competence.
response to the motion filed on Mr. Jones's behalf and
following the completion of the psychiatric examination and
the report, this Court held a telephonic hearing to address
the pending issues. During that hearing, the Government did
not object either to the request to dismiss the Petition for
a Violation of Supervised Release or the request to terminate
Mr. Jones's supervised release. Both sides noted the
length of time of Mr. Jones's incarceration-nearly ten
months-as well as Mr. Jones's need for mental health
treatment, rather than further criminal supervision. While
Probation supported an order to forcibly medicate Mr. Jones
to restore his competency in order for him to be tried on the
supervised release violation charges, it did not object to
terminating supervised release, if the Court decided to
dismiss the Petition.
the Motion to Dismiss the Petition for a Violation of
Supervised Release and terminate supervised release was filed
on Mr. Jones's behalf first, the Court nevertheless will
address the issues raised by the psychological examination
first and determine whether the Court should order that Mr.
Jones receive medication involuntarily in order to restore
his competence and stand trial for the alleged violations of
his supervised release. Although, in this instance,
addressing the issues in this order does not lead to a
different result, any other order of priority may encourage
the filing of motions to dismiss, while competency
determinations are pending.
Court concludes that it cannot, consistent with the United
States Constitution, order that Mr. Jones be forced to take
medication. The United States Constitution only permits the
"Government involuntarily to administer antipsychotic
drugs to a mentally ill defendant facing serious criminal
charges in order to render that defendant competent to stand
trial [ ] 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."
Sell v. United States, 539 U.S. 166, 179 (2003). The
circumstances where forced mental health treatment is
justified are rare, and do not exist here. See id.
Mr. Jones's alleged criminal violation is not of
sufficient importance to the Government to justify the forced
imposition of medication. See Id. at 180 (to justify
the forced administration of medication, the Court must find
"important governmental interests are at stake,
" considered in light of the Government's role to
"to protect through application of the criminal law the
basic human need for security."). The Court does not
take lightly Mr. Jones's alleged violations of his
supervised release conditions. Compliance with such
conditions is important and facilitates a criminal
defendant's successful re-entry into the community. But
his alleged violations, such as sleeping overnight in Union
Station, do not carry sufficient weight in the particular
circumstances of this case to warrant forcibly administering
medication. Ordering Mr. Jones to take medication would
significantly interfere with his liberty and is not
proportional to offenses with which he is charged. See
Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 221, 229 (1990)
(recognizing the "significant liberty interest" of
a convicted, incarcerated criminal in "avoiding the