E-Alerts & Press Releases

When can the state control your body and mind?

July 13, 2015: Many Americans hold sacred the rights to control one’s own body and speech, and they are enshrined in the Maryland Declaration of Rights. But these rights took a tumble last year when a Maryland statute was amended to expand the authority of the state to forcibly medicate people who have been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility but are not a danger to themselves or others while in the facility.

Recognizing this infringement of individual rights, we filed the opening brief with the Maryland Disability Law Center and the firm of Ria P. Rochvarg, P.A. in Allmond v. Department of Health and Mental Hygiene before the Maryland Court of Appeals on July 13. The case challenges the constitutionality of these amendments, arguing that the state’s justification for forcibly medicating people without showing that they are a danger in the institution is not sufficient to overcome their rights to refuse medication or to control their own speech and thoughts.

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