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Name: People v. Miller
Case #: H032249
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/15/2009

A defendant at jury trial may be subject to physical restraints while in the jury’s presence only if the judge makes a finding on the record that there is a manifest need for such restraints. Appellant was convicted at jury trial of assault with a deadly weapon by a life prisoner. Over appellant’s objection. and without making a finding on the record, the judge acceded to the bailiff’s position that one of appellant’s hands be restrained. The court allowed voir dire on the issue of shackling and instructed the jury with language of CALJIC No. 1.04 that it was to disregard the restraints. Shackling is permitted only with a finding on the record by the judge that there is a manifest need for restraints. The decision must be made on a case-by-case basis and the court cannot adopt a general policy as to the use of restraints. If error is shown, reversal is compelled unless the state demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that the shackling did not contribute to the verdict, with consideration given to the inherent adverse effect of the shackling on both appellant and the jurors. Because this could not be established here, the court ordered reversal of the judgment.