Rotting With Your Rights On: Indefinite Detention For Incompetent Clients

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Watch this episode on YOUTUBE, on APPLE PODCASTS, or wherever you get your podcasts!

Ideally, when a person who may have committed a crime is deemed to be seriously mentally ill, a fair and rational criminal justice system will give them meaningful mental health treatment in a humane environment. But, in the federal system, mentally incompetent defendants who have never been found guilty of ANY CRIME will be warehoused in federal prison and held indefinitely. Even those who are not dangerous and have been previously granted pre-trial release, can be sent to prison, having never been convicted of any crime.

Donna Elm is a veteran defense attorney, author, former therapist, and has much experience in the realm of mental health litigation. She and I litigated just such a case together in 2006, and that man sits in prison, to this day, still having never been convicted of any crime. This is our system.

At the center of it all, is Dr. Charles Thomas Sell. He was a St. Louis Dentist who resisted the government’s effort to force medicate him with powerful anti-psychotic drugs, while in custody for seven years, again, having never been convicted of crime. He fought his case all the way to the supreme court and won. Passon documented his story on film.

This episode is best watched on YOUTUBE b/c it contains several awesome video clips from our litigation and the Sell documentary. Head on over to the YOUTUBE CHANNEL and, while you are there, please subscribe!


  • The story of Dr. Charles Thomas Sell, and the origin of “Sell Hearings”
  • The injustice of pre-trial detention solely to complete a competency evaluation;
  • Federal psych facilities can more restrictive, less productive, and more dangerous than normal institutions;
  • The trauma of forced medication;
  • Life-threatening side-effects of anti-psychotics;
  • Dr. Sell himself, on camera, telling his own story;
  • Antipsychotics are unlikely help ameliorate symptoms of Delusional Disorder;
  • “Rotting with Your Rights On” : If you WIN a “Sell Hearing” you LOSE.


Click here to download FREE Article on Litigating Sell Issues!


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