UPDATES ON DR. SELL’S CASE
APRIL 20, 2005: On Friday afternoon, April 15, 2005, one month shy of eight years behind bars awaiting trial, Dr. Sell ended his wait. He accepted a government offer to plead “nolo contendere” or no-contest to one count of fraud and one count of murder conspiracy. He was released from jail the same day. The no-contest plea is extremely rare in federal courts and, according to a Post-Dispatch article, dated April 16, 2005, “requires approval at the highest level of federal government.” Dr. Sell maintained his innocence during what must be the longest period of incarceration of an American citizen--without a trial--in this country’s history. In the no-contest plea he admits no guilt but says the prosecution might be able to cause a jury to convict him. His sentence was the time he served awaiting trial. He will spend six months in a halfway house followed by three years of parole. The facts of Dr. Sell’s case, reported in detail elsewhere on this web site, are bizarre. They include the government’s nearly five-year effort to forcibly inject him with mind-altering drugs, the blatant lack of credibility of the government witnesses and the unsuccessful effort to force the government to release videotapes of his torture in federal custody. His family and friends hope that Dr. Sell can now regain his health-- severely impaired by the brutal conditions of his confinement--and experience some peace and comfort in his life.
DECEMBER 1, 2004: Judge Donald J. Stohr ruled on November 24, 2004 that Dr. Charles T. Sell should be sent to the federal prison hospital in Butner, North Carolina for another evaluation for competency to stand trial. Without mentioning the documented torture that occurred at the federal prison hospital in Springfield, Missouri, Stohr ordered “that the examination not be conducted” there. (See St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, dated November 30, 2004.) .
NOVEMBER 24, 2004: The trial of Dr. Sell has again been postponed. Despite Dr. Sell’s personal plea for the trial to go forward as scheduled on November 29, 2004, Judge Donald J. Stohr said that would not be possible. At a hearing on November 22 both Dr. Sell’s attorneys and federal prosecutors said that they want him sent to a federal prison hospital for another mental evaluation. A defense psychiatrist contended in a confidential report, filed under seal, that Dr. Sell is “preoccupied” with his torture at the federal prison hospital at Springfield, MO. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch obtained a copy of the confidential report. Ironically, the report--citing the psychiatrist’s review of videotape evidence--verifies that the torture occurred just as described by Dr. Sell. (See St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, dated November 23, 2004.) .
OCTOBER 10, 2004: Dr. Sell has turned down a government plea bargain that would have allowed his release for time served if he plead guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy.
Efforts by the media to obtain videotapes of Dr. Sell’s torture while in federal custody continue to be blocked by the Justice Department. (See St. Louis Post-Dispatch article dated October 10, 2004.)
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