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Name: Gonzalez v. Pliler
Case #: 02-55640
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/26/2003
Subsequent History: None

Appellant was forced to wear a “stun belt” during his trial, including during the time he was testifying. The reasons given by the bailiff were that appellant had been “a little uncooperative” and “had an attitude.” The appellate court here remanded the case for an evidentiary hearing on the issue of prejudice. The trial court did not adhere to the relevant constitutional standards for forcing appellant to wear the restraint. It did not determine that there was a compelling need for courtroom security which required the restraint. It made no attempt to pursue less restrictive alternatives. Since it cannot be determined from the record what the jury saw, or the effect of the belt on appellant’s ability to assist in his defense, an evidentiary hearing was required.