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United States v. Curtis

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

April 16, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
James S. Curtis, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted, January 17, 2014

Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas - Ft. Smith.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Kenneth P. Elser, Glen R. Hines, U.S. Attorney's Office, Fort Smith, AR.

James S. Curtis, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Butner, NC.

For James S. Curtis, Defendant - Appellant: James Pierce, Angela Lorene Pitts, Federal Public Defender's Office, Fayetteville, AR.

Before WOLLMAN, BYE, and MELLOY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 733

WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge

James Curtis was indicted on one count of possession of a firearm after having been committed to a mental institution, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4). Curtis was found incompetent to stand trial, and he objected to treatment with antipsychotic medication to restore him to competency. The district court ordered that Curtis be involuntarily medicated. We conclude that the case must be remanded to the district court for further proceedings.

I. Background

Curtis is a 74-year-old man who suffers from delusional disorder, persecutory type. This psychotic mental illness is primarily characterized by nonbizarre delusions--specifically, the person believes " that he is being conspired against, cheated, spied on, followed, poisoned or drugged, maliciously maligned, harassed, or obstructed in the pursuit of long-term goals." According to a government evaluation of Curtis's condition, Curtis has a " fixed, irrational belief that the police in Kentucky follow him

Page 734

across the country, steal from him, and are involved in a cover-up regarding the death of his friend. His ideas have expanded to ...


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