SAN FRANCISCO – A federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit Monday by a former U.S. marshal who claimed the CIA slipped LSD into his drink in 1957, causing him to act irrationally and rob a bar.
Wayne Ritchie, also a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, claimed he was part of a project in which government operatives tested LSD and other psychoactive drugs on unwitting subjects. He sued after reading a 1999 newspaper account about the program.
Ritchie claimed the drug, allegedly given to him at an office Christmas party in the San Francisco federal building, made him feel "overcome by a sense of worthlessness that compelled him to engage knowingly in self-destructive conduct."
After the party, he tried to rob a San Francisco bar before getting beat up. He pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and in March 1958, was sentenced to five years' probation and resigned from his job.
On Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the July decision by U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel, who dismissed the case following a four-day, non-jury trial in April.
Patel noted the government conceded CIA operatives drugged some individuals without their knowledge in December 1957 during testing of the drug. But she said Ritchie failed to prove the drug was slipped into his drinks or that the robbery was the result of an LSD-induced psychotic disorder.