Magistrate Aquilina stared down at the perp. He was a frequent flier and was going through his act, gibbering and drooling and twitching.
He had a Social Worker representing him.
His name was Damien Something. They got a different answer out of him every time they asked the question.
"Is he competent to stand trial?" Magistrate Aquilina asked the Social Worker.
"No, he is not." the Social Worker answered.
"How did you determine that?" Aquilina asked.
"He has not been meds-compliant." the Social Worker answered.
"How long has he been in custody?" Aquilina asked.
"A week." the Social Worker answered.
"What was the charge?" Aquilina asked even though she knew the answer.
"Damage to property and resisting arrest." the Social Worker answered.
In fact, Damien had been throwing bricks at one of the trucks that were becoming increasingly common in LA. It took four police to subdue him as he spat at them and attempted to kick and bite them.
"How long have you been assigned to his case?" Aquilina asked.
"For six days." the Social Worker answered.
"At any point in those six days did you file a complaint that the jail was not administering the meds of latest record?" Aquilina asked. Again, she knew the answer.
"No, Magistrate, I did not." the Social Worker answered.
"Your recommendation is that he be released back to the street without punishment or being institutionalized. Is that true?" Aquilina asked.
"That is true. He can scrape by in the street." the Social Worker admitted.
The Social Worker was no better or worse than most of the ones Sedelia had inherited from Cali. Regardless, she would soon be out of a job. The new court protocols had drastically reduced the resources required to try-or-adjudicate crazy people from the three man-weeks that used to be the norm. The court no longer had a back-log and about 15% of the Social Worker's case load had been found in back-alleys and parking lots riddled with bullets now that universal surveillance had been discontinued.
"Then this court judges him to be a competent adult, at least as competent as he is capable of." Magistrate Aquiline ruled.
Damien stopped gibbering.
"Damien Somebody," Magistrate Aquilina addressed the prisoner "adults make choices and then live with the consequences. I am going to offer you choices and you will make a decision. If you cannot give me a coherent answer I will choose for you."
Aquilina did not bother to ask if Damien understood. If he did, he would undoubtedly lie.
"Your choices are:
A) Surgery that implants a meds pump that will administer an anti-psychotic for one year. Failure to appear for a meds refill at the appropriate time will result in electro-shocks until you appear.
B) Volunteer in the FFL, Frontier Front Line, aka, French Foreign Legion.
C) Volunteer for Power Generation Duty where you will pedal a stationary bike for 8 hours a day."
Aquilina continued "You have thirty seconds to make up your mind."
Damien went into full, spastic faux-epileptic fit.
After thirty seconds, Aquilina ruled, "I assign you Option A, meds pump."
It was not really a "pump". The implant looked like the packets of ketchup given out by fast food restaurants back in 2018. Part of the packet was made of a permeable membrane that allowed anti-psychotic meds to leach into the patients bodies in a controlled way. The packets were implanted 6mm beneath the patient's skin in the small of their back where they would be least likely to dig them out.
"Bailiffs, remove the prisoner." Aquilina said. Total time elapsed, three minutes.
The meds pump also included a strong sedative that could be "commanded" by police or medical personnel. Fifteen seconds after commanding the sedative it was thirty minutes of night-night for the psychotic, plenty long enough to put him in cuffs.
Damien would be back on the streets as recommended by his Social Worker but the enforced meds-compliance was going to give him the personality of a Downs Syndrome child rather than that of a dyspeptic Water Moccasin.
After decades of dealing with the institutional insanity of the mental health industry, the medical professionals tasked with calibrating the meds tended to error on the side of over-medicating. After all, these were the same doctors and nurses that had to deal with the biters and spitters and HIV and Hepatis positive street people on a daily basis in hospital emergency rooms.
Medicating Damien would not fix the fact that he was homeless, but it would change his behaviors such that he would not be kicked out of homeless shelters.
Aquilina reserved the Power Generation Duty for the really hard cases, the ones where the meds pump was not enough to quell the voices in their heads. If Damien appeared in court again in the next year he would be pedaling a bike eight hours a day, six days a week while listening to 1970's disco music at 85 dB. And his food would be "enhanced" with 3mg of risperidone for every 1000 Calories.