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Name: People v. Barnum
Case #: C031302
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/29/2001
Subsequent History: Review granted 4/18/01 (S095872)
Summary

Editor’s Note: Review granted. An in-prison jury trial does not in itself establish that the trial was unfair. Appellant failed to show prejudice resulting from the location of the trial. The trial, for battery by an inmate on a correctional officer, was a credibility contest which focused on whether the guards had acted lawfully or provoked the inmates. Necessarily, the jury already knew that appellant was an inmate, and in fact, stated when issuing their verdict that although they found him guilty, they thought that the officers could have avoided the whole incident if they had used proper protocol. Further, Lassen County’s provisions for holding jury trials at High Desert State Prison are applicable only in the case of “strikes” prosecutions arising out of prison conduct, as was the case here, and provides for exceptions where prejudice will result. Appellant did not articulate the potential for prejudice in the trial court. In fact, there was some benefit to the defendant, who would otherwise have been a likely candidate for shackling in a courtroom outside the facility. The selective use of in-prison trials is beneficial to the state and in some cases to the defendant, and are not an inherently prejudicial practice.