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Murphy's Attorneys Seek High Court Ruling

Attorneys for Gregory Murphy have asked the Virginia Supreme Court to consider the question of whether Murphy's constitutional rights are being violated because he is being forcibly medicated.

Joseph Bowman filed the motion with the State Supreme Court on Feb. 14. Murphy is currently incarcerated at Central State Hospital where he is receiving antipsychotic medication. The goal is to restore him to competency to stand trial for the murder of eight-year-old Kevin Shifflett in April 2000. Bowman’s previous request for a Writ of Prohibition from the high court was denied.

“This will really be the court’s first opportunity to consider the constitutional question,” Bowman said. “Previously, we argued that the Circuit Court did not have the statutory authority to order Mr. Murphy to be forcibly medicated. While we make that argument this time as well, we really want the Supreme Court to consider the 14th Amendment question.”

The 14th Amendment guarantees all citizens of the United States that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States: nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”

Alexandria Commonwealth Attorney, S. Randolph Sengel, does not believe that Murphy has been deprived of any of his rights. “I think that the Court was pretty clear the last time that this case was before it,” Sengel said. “We have done everything that is required to protect Mr. Murphy’s constitutional rights and more. I can’t imagine that the Virginia Supreme Court would rule that we have done otherwise.”

The Attorney General’s office will respond to the motion later this week. While the Supreme Court can hear arguments, the justices may chose to rule on the filings alone.

MEDICAL STATUS

In the meantime, Murphy continues to receive antipsychotic medication. In a medical report to the Alexandria Circuit Court, dated Feb. 14, 2002, doctors stated that Murphy remains not competent to stand trial. The report said that Murphy continues to suffer from paranoid delusions and shows signs of depression. He is still concerned that machines are being used to control his mind, according to the report.