Carlos Bello was convicted of killing a police officer in 1987, and sentenced to death. The Florida Supreme Court upheld the conviction but reversed the death penalty in 1989. Bello must be resentenced, but every time he’s up for resentencing, he stops taking medicine for his mental health. Over the years, he has been ruled incompetent about a dozen times.
Hillsborough County Judge Ron Ficarrotta has ruled that Bello will be forced to take psychotropic medications so he can remain competent for sentencing.
According to a TBO.com article (link is below), after Bello’s conviction, a psychiatrist testified that Bello exhibited characteristics of paranoid and catatonic schizophrenia and was mentally ill when he committed the murder. However, a clinical psychologist said Bello was bright, refused to share information with doctors and no longer needed to be hospitalized if given antipsychotic medicine.
The moral of the story? You can’t avoid the inevitable, even by playing possum. Truly mentally ill people will be treated differently, but those who are “malingering” will not be able to keep up the act forever. Even if they grow long white beards – nice try, Carlos.
bLAWgger note: Judge Ficarrotta is an exceptional judge who makes informed, well-advised, thoughtful rulings. There is no doubt that this ruling was no different. Kudos to the judge!