Supreme Court Allows Hawaii State Hospital Decision to Involuntarily Medicate Man to Stand

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that the Hawaii Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear the further appeal of an order authorizing the Hawaii State Hospital to involuntarily administer psychotropic medication to Michael Robert Lawrence.

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin

In 2002, Lawrence was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to the custody of the Hawaii health director for the 1999 murder and dismemberment of a vacuum cleaner salesperson on Oahu’s North Shore.

Lawrence was also prosecuted in 2008 for assaulting a Hawaii State Hospital physician while in custody. In 2013, the Hawaii State Hospital moved for a court order authorizing the involuntary administration of medication to Lawrence after he refused to accept medication. Lawrence appealed the court order to the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals, which affirmed the court order on November 30, 2016. Tuesday’s decision by the Hawaii Supreme Court not to hear a further appeal ends this litigation.

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “When Lawrence refused all psychotropic medications and continued to engage in threatening behaviors, the state hospital correctly moved for a court order for Lawrence’s safety and the safety of others. The statute authorizing involuntary medication was written exactly for these situations.”

A copy of the April 4, 2017 order from the Hawaii Supreme Court and the November 30, 2016 decision by the Intermediate Court of Appeals is attached.

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