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Barzee's Defense Continues to Fight Medication

Barzee's Defense Continues to Fight Medication

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The defense team for Elizabeth Smart kidnapping suspect Wanda Barzee says psychiatric medication won't make her mentally competent to stand trial.

Defense attorneys Scott Williams and David Finlayson said in court documents that Barzee would continue to fight any state attempt to forcibly medicate her.

Barzee was ruled incompetent to stand trial over a year ago. A hearing was held in August for an update on her status. At that time, 3rd District Judge Judith Atherton ruled Barzee was still incompetent but that there was "substantial probability she may become competent in the foreseeable future."

In a motion filed in February, the state said it had exhausted all treatment possibilities to restore Barzee's competency except medication, which Barzee refused to receive.

"Without medication, Ms. Barzee is not likely to make any further progress towards restoration of competency," the Department of Human Services said in court documents.

In their reply filed late last week, the defense argued, "There is no substantial likelihood of restoration in the foreseeable future and therefore no further restoration efforts are warranted under the applicable statutory law."

If Atherton does grant a hearing, however, the defense has asked for "sufficient opportunity" to present its side in court.

Barzee, 59, and her husband, Brian David Mitchell, 51, are accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart, then 14, from her home on June 5, 2002. The two purportedly believed they were fulfilling a prophesy that Mitchell would take plural wives.

Co-defendant Mitchell is currently waiting for his second competency hearing to continue. His next court date is scheduled for May 24.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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