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Name: People v. Govan (2023) 91 Cal.App.5th 1015
Case #: B316245
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 05/22/2023

It was an abuse of discretion to require a restraint belt without an individualized finding that defendant posed a safety or flight risk or was likely to disrupt the proceeding. A jury found defendant guilty of three counts of false imprisonment by violence; three counts of forcible oral copulation; three counts of forcible rape; and one count of attempted forcible rape. Because of the pandemic, jury selection was held in an unsecured room normally used for jury assembly. Because of this, and the seriousness of the charges, the trial court ordered defendant to be physically restrained by way of a…

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Name: People v. Billie
Case #: B265958
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 04/04/2017

Trial court did not err in requiring pro se defendant with history of violence to remain shackled to his chair during trial. Following a jury trial during which he represented himself, defendant was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon with a special allegation of personal infliction of great bodily injury. On appeal, defendant argued the court erred in requiring him to wear physical restraints during trial. Held: Affirmed. A criminal defendant may be subjected to physical restraints in the jury's presence upon a showing of a manifest need for such restraints. This requirement is satisfied by evidence that the…

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Name: People v. Sanchez
Case #: E048972
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 10/25/2011

The court abuses its discretion when it places a deputy near the defendant while he testifies on the basis of a general courtroom policy with no case-specific concerns for security. The Supreme Court transferred this case back to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration after People v. Hernandez (2011) 51 Cal.4th 733 [uniformed deputy stationed at the witness stand must be based on individualized facts showing the defendant poses a safety or flight risk or would otherwise disrupt proceedings; Watson review standard is applied]. Here a deputy followed the defendant from counsel table to the witness stand when he testified…

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Name: People v. Hernandez
Case #: S175615
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 02/28/2011

The decision to station a uniformed deputy at the witness stand must be based on individualized facts showing the defendant poses a safety or flight risk, or would otherwise disrupt the proceedings, and not based on a standard practice or policy. (People v. Stevens (2009) 47 Cal.4th 625.) When appellant testified at his trial for assault with a deadly weapon, a courtroom deputy stood behind him. Defense counsel did not immediately object because she did not want to highlight the issue to the jury, but did so after a recess and noted that the procedure had never…

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Name: People v. Stevens
Case #: S158852
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 11/05/2009

Stationing a courtroom deputy next to a testifying defendant is not an inherently prejudicial practice. The appellate court rejected Stevens's contention that the presence of a deputy standing next to him while he testified was akin to a "human shackle" and therefore required justification by a particular need. The California Supreme Court granted review to determine whether placing the deputy sheriff at the witness stand while a defendant testifies requires a showing of need. The Court affirmed the decision of the appellate court, holding that a heightened showing of manifest need is not required to justify the stationing of a…

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Name: People v. Hernandez
Case #: A119501
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 07/10/2009
Subsequent History: rev. granted 9/9/09 (S175615)

Whether the presence of armed guards in the courtroom deprives a defendant of due process to a fair trial must be determined by the judge on a case-by-case basis. Appellant and the victim, who both suffered from chronic alcoholism and had been drinking the day of the incident, became involved in an altercation on a public street with the victim sustaining injuries for which she received medical treatment. Appellant was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and assault likely to produce great bodily injury and personal infliction of great bodily injury. At trial, an armed guard sat behind…

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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…

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Name: People v. Meredith
Case #: C057232
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/15/2009

CALCRIM No. 1701, defining the crime of burglary, requires no modification as it includes an adequate definition of whether the structure was inhabited, a necessary element for first degree burglary. The 93-year-old owner and resident of a Sacramento house was hospitalized in September 2006, suffering from dementia and age-related physical problems, and was then transferred to a convalescent hospital in October 2006. He left his belongings in the house and instructed his friend and accountant to take care of the house as he intended to return. The accountant provided for maintenance of the house and checked on the house periodically.…

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Name: People v. Soukomlane
Case #: F052781
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/23/2008

The trial court has relatively narrow discretion in permitting shackling of a criminal defendant at trial and it is a violation of both federal and state due process to permit shackling without a showing of justification or need. The court granted appellant’s motion to represent himself and before jury selection, appellant made a motion requesting an order banning shackling. The motion was denied. Appellant continually raised the motion, adequately documenting how the shackles were apparent to the jury, disrupted his ability to represent himself, and were not justified by his behavior. The court on the record…

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Name: Larson v. Palmateer
Case #: 04-35465
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 02/14/2008

Visibly restraining a criminal defendant is not allowed unless the trial court finds the restraints are necessary under the particular circumstances of the case. The trial court required defendant to wear a security leg brace at his murder trial, and the record suggested it was visible to the jury. But mid-trial, the court ordered the brace removed and told the jury that the it was a security device used to transport prisoners and that the court decided to take it off because defendant had a physical impairment. In his federal habeas petition, defendant alleged the shackling violated his right…

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