Sell involves issues of individual liberty that reach beyond the sphere of the mentally ill. Although the Court ultimately decided in Dr. Sell’s favor by applying the facts of the case to a heightened scrutiny test, the Court missed an opportunity to decide this case on broader, more protective constitutional grounds for other mentally ill defendants.

This Note considers the effect that the decision in Sell v. United States has on mentally ill criminal defendants in both procedural and substantive arenas. Section II gives a brief introduction to the collateral order doctrine and discusses forced medication for trial competency purposes. Section III provides the statement of facts, the procedural history and the Supreme Court’s decision in Sell. Section IV analyzes the Court’s decision in Sell and examines why the Court was correct in categorizing forced medication decisions under the collateral order doctrine. It further discusses why the Court should have applied strict scrutiny to the issue of forced medication in order to protect Dr. Sell’s constitutional rights. Section IV also discusses specific problems with the heightened scrutiny test laid out by the Court. Finally, Section V concludes the Note by reiterating the importance of strict, prompt review of important right violations such as in the field of forced medication