From: Jim Gottstein <>
Sent: Wednesday, June 19, 2024 3:19 PM
Subject: David Russell


Dear Ms. Stiehl,


I am a lawyer with the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights), working with MindFreedom, International, and writing to urge you to stop the electroshocking of Catholic Charities’ ward, David Russell.  I understand David Russell is now assigned to you. 


The legal justification for overriding Mr. Russell’s choice to not be electroshocked is that he lacks capacity (is incompetent) to make such a decision.  In fact, his supposed incompetence is the basis for Catholic Charities being appointed his guardian.  Mr. Hanratty wrote me, “Catholic Charities did not petition and would not petition for electroconvulsive therapy.”  However, Catholic Charities, in derogation of its responsibilities, has acquiesced in the forced electroshock of Mr. Russell.  Since Mr. Russell’s decision-making rights have been removed from him and transferred to Catholic Charities, it has the obligation to make informed decisions.   If you exercise that authority against electroshocking Mr. Russell there should be no legal basis for administering it to him. 


Contrary to the marketing of the electroshock industry, electroshock is very harmful with virtually no benefits to the patient.  See the information on the PsychRights  Electroshock website page. The January 24, 2011, PsychRights letter to the Food and Drug Administration is a good summary and Sarah Price Hancock’s recent e-mail to Governor Waltz and people at Mayo is excellent on the topic.    


Electroshock, however, does have benefits for staff and other people because it tends to shut the patients up or otherwise disable them.  In fact, Mr. Russell witnessed another patient being electroshocked to the point where he couldn’t speak and even needed help eating.   Mr. Russell is terrified.


You should know that the United Nations has concluded Electroshock can constitute torture in violation of International Law.  See, UN Human Rights Council. (19 June 2020). “Mental Health and Human Rights: Resolution 43/13 Adopted 19 June 2020.” A/HRC/RES/43/13. Geneva: United Nations; UN Human Rights Council. (20 Mar 2020). Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: Report of the Special Rapporteur. A/HRC/43/49. Geneva: United Nations; Méndez, Juan E. (4 Mar 2013). “Statement By Mr. Juan E Méndez, Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.” Geneva: United Nations. See also the related Report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Juan E. Méndez (2013), A/HRC/22/53. Geneva: United Nations.


By standing by doing nothing, Catholic Charities is letting evil triumph.  I respectfully suggest Catholic should not be a tool for torture and should immediately stop the electroshocking of Mr. Russell against his will.




James B. (Jim) Gottstein, Esq.



Law Project for Psychiatric Rights
406 G Street, Suite 206
Anchorage, Alaska  99501  USA
(907) 274-7686


The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is a public interest law firm whose mission is to mount a strategic litigation campaign against forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock.  We are further dedicated to exposing the truth about these drugs and the courts being misled into ordering people to be drugged and subjected to other brain and body damaging interventions against their will.  Due to the massive psychiatric drugging of children and youth, PsychRights has made attacking this problem a priority.  Children are virtually always forced to take these drugs because it is the adults in their lives who are making the decision.  This is a national tragedy of immense proportions.  PsychRights is seeking sufficient funding to increase its impact.  See, Getting to the Next Level.