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LAW IN THE NEWS

The field of law is both exciting and, at times, complex. There are also many stereotypes and expectations that the common person has that are based on television shows or movies. The state Supreme Court faces challenges on a daily basis that may not be gracing the silver screen anytime soon, but the decisions they make can still have an impact.

In the spirit of learning more about state and national law, we'd like to share a recent story about a fascinating case sitting before the Connecticut Supreme Court.

The Case of Dr. Wang

Dr. Lishan Wang was charged with the alleged murder of fellow doctor Vajinder Toor and the attempted murder of Toor's wife in 2010. The two men once worked together at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn, where a confrontation between them led to Wang's employment termination in 2008. Wang sued the medical center, claiming that his supervisors and co-workers had discriminated against him because of his nationality. He also claimed that he had been unfairly labeled as "excitable, emotional, and unable to control his anger" and that the had been unfairly characterized as having anger issues and as being mentally impaired. The aforementioned confrontation between Wang and Dr. Toor included a heated discussion over Wang's refusal to answer pages and calls from hospital staff. During the exchange, Toor felt that Wang's body language was threatening, so he reported him ("Police: Bad blood led to doctor's slaying"). Police suggest that Wang had maintained a grudge which allegedly led him to seek revenge.

Only a couple weeks ago, a state prosecutor and defense attorney argued before the state Supreme Court about whether it would be proper or fair to force Dr. Wang to take medications in an attempt to restore his competency to face trial for murder. Up to this point, doctors from the Whiting Forensic Division of Connecticut Valley Hospital have tried and failed to restore Wang's competency through such measures as talk therapy. Not believing himself to be mentally ill, Wang has refused to accept any medications prescribed for such an illness. Wang's advocates claim that forcing anti-psychotic medication on Wang is a violation of his rights and a danger to his health. But others claim that forced medication is in Wang's best interests, restoring his competency to assist in his trial as well as aiding his mental health.

Two Sides to Every Story

People on both sides of the issue have valid arguments for and against forced medication. Proponents argue that mentally ill individuals lack the ability to make sound judgments about their own mental health needs. They also claim that the requirements necessary for forced medication are so specific that they protect the rights of individuals and help to ensure that they aren't forced to take medication without due cause. But opponents suggest that forced medication is unethical and a form of censorship. An individual will essentially lose his/her right to refuse medication based on unproven assertions that he/she is guilty of a crime, and may also lose the ability to properly represent themselves as they are to the court and their peers (a violation of the 8th Amendment). Other opponents are also wary of giving the government the power to force individuals to take potentially dangerous substances against their will, fearing that it could be a slippery slope that will lead to more, not less injustice.

New criminal law cases like this appear in the pages of our papers all the time. But just because a case isn't in the news or doesn't involve criminal proceedings, doesn't mean it isn't important. If you find yourself in need of an attorney, contact Cummings Law Firm. We are ready to help today.

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