Inmate’s rights not violated by force-feeding order, appeals court decides

05/02/2013 // West Palm Beach , Florida, US // JusticeNewsFlash // Justice News Flash // (press release)

Albany, NY – An appeals court has determined that a court order authorizing the force-feeding of an inmate did not violate his right to refuse medical treatment. As reported by Reuters, the divided Court of Appeals made the decision Thursday in the case of Leroy Dorsey, who lost close to 100 pounds as a result of a series of hunger strikes in 2010 while incarcerated at two upstate prisons.

Dorsey claimed force-feeding was only lawful if an inmate was suicidal; however, he alleged his efforts were to draw attention to how he claimed he had been treated. The court disagreed with him.

Judge Victoria Graffeo, is quoted in the report as writing for the majority in the court’s 4-2 decision, “Whatever his purported intent, by refusing to eat for a prolonged period of time despite repeated warnings concerning the imminent physiological damage that behavior was causing, Dorsey knowingly inflicted injury on himself that, if continued, would result in his death.”

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