Thursday, February 26, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
ps. Here is an interesting column from the Los Angeles Times by Steven Hill on the "open primary" championed by Senator Maldonado. Hill is director of the Political Reform Program at the New America Foundation and the author of "10 Steps to Repair American Democracy."
"Because it requires that defendant take “any and all” prescribed medication, [the medication requirement] compels her to waive her constitutional right to decline unwanted medication even if she has serious qualms due to its side-effects or differing medical opinions concerning its propriety. On its face, the medication requirement compels her to take medication prescribed for any purpose and is not narrowly tailored to an identifiable medical problem related to her offense or rehabilitation for which medication might be appropriate and necessary. Indeed, the court did not find that defendant suffers from a particular medical disorder, condition, or problem requiring medication, and the record contains no professional medical evidence to support such a finding. Moreover, although defendant reported a prior diagnosis of ADHD or bi-polar disorder, there is no midical evidence confirming that diagnosis; indicating that defendant continues to suffer from such disorders; or suggesting that because such disorders could interfere with her rehabilitation, she needs to take medication to control them.
Not only is the medication requirement not narrowly tailored, but also the record does not support a finding that the broad infringement of defendant’s constitutional right is reasonably necessary to achieve some medical purpose related to defendant’s offense or rehabilitative needs. There is no evidence that some medical disorder, condition, or problem caused or substantially contributed to defendant’s offense or that she would not have committed it had she been on medication. There is no evidence that defendant currently poses a risk of harm to herself or others or is at risk of some grave illness if she does not take medication. There is no evidence that defendant’s rehabilitation could be impaired or complicated unless she takes medication for some condition, disorder, or problem. And there is no evidence that defendant has ever resisted, declined, or forgotten to take medication.
In short, without any medically-informed basis for doing so, the court ordered defendant, under the threat of incarceration, to take any and all medication that her doctor might prescribe for any purpose whatsoever. That command unreasonably and unnecessarily infringes on defendant’s constitutional right of privacy and is therefore patently overbroad and unconstitutional."
In response to County of Riverside, the Legislature passed a new statute ("SB 440"). SB 440 retains interest arbitration, but it provides that the arbitrator's decision can be overturned by a unanimous vote of the local governing body. Does this modification change the result in County of Roverside? The issue is now before the Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Five, in a writ petition brought by Sonoma County, and the case will be argued next week.