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Name: Tiffany A. v. Superior Court
Case #: B193134
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 05/21/2007

Juvenile courts cannot have a general policy requiring the shackling of all minors. The minor sought a writ of prohibition directing the trial court to set aside its order denying her motion to preclude the use of physical restraints on all minors who appear in juvenile delinquency court absent an individualized determination of the need for restraints. The prosecutor and sheriff argued that the requisite need for a showing of necessity of restraints depends on the type of court proceeding: that where there is no jury and the appearance is brief, the necessary showing of need is…

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Name: People v. Vance
Case #: C049453
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/31/2006

In 1984, the defendant pled not guilty by reason of insanity to attempted murder and was committed to the state hospital. During trial proceedings to determine whether his commitment should be extended, he appeared in shackles before the jury. The court did not formally instruct the jury regarding the restraints, and the court denied counsel's request that the shackles be removed. The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment, finding that the court had not properly exercised its discretion in determining whether the defendant should be shackled, but had instead left the determination up to law enforcement officers.…

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Name: People v. Fisher
Case #: B181560
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 01/30/2006

Leg restraints were proper at defendant's mentally disordered offender hearing where no objection was entered and the defendant was an escape risk. The court rejected the prosecution argument that the restrictions on shackling that apply in criminal cases do not apply to mentally disordered offender proceedings, and instead held that a defendant cannot be subjected to physical restraints of any kind in the courtroom while in the jury's presence, absent a showing of a manifest need for such restraints. Here, however, the trial court's order was supported by evidence in the record showing that the defendant was a flight…

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Name: People v. Marks
Case #: S040575
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/24/2003
Subsequent History: None

The use of security personnel, placing a deputy sheriff next to appellant during his testimony, doe not require the manifest need standard as for shackling. Here, defendant had previously attacked his own attorney and had been disruptive in the courtroom. Prior to the start of trial, defense counsel had requested that he be subject to physical restraints, which had been denied. However, the court reconsidered the issue when defendant was to take the stand because of the proximity of the jury box to the witness stand (some 30 - 40 feet away). Evidence of defendant's competence…

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Name: People v. Mar
Case #: S086611
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/22/2002
Subsequent History: As mod. 9/11/02. Modification does not affect judgment.

Before approving use of a stun belt of current design, which delivers a shock which cannot be lowered from its 50,000 volts nor shortened in its 8-10 second duration, a trial court should determine if these features render the device more onerous than necessary to satisfy the court’s security needs by the use of more traditional physical restraints. Under the facts of this case, the court found the use of stun belt to be prejudicial…

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Name: People v. England
Case #: C032080
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/12/2000
Subsequent History: Review denied 12/20/00

Holding appellant's jury trial on the prison grounds did not violate appellant's right to a public trial or the Standards of Judicial Administration where the courtroom was physically and visually remote from the prison, was outside the prison wires, was accessible to the press and general public, and the only inmates jurors might have seen were tending the garden. Because the trial was on prison grounds, it was the warden, rather than the trial judge, who could determine whether any felon could attend the trial. This, however, did not violate the separation of powers clause because appellant failed…

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Name: Packer v. Hill
Case #: 00-57051
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 01/15/2002
Subsequent History: None

Petitioner’s due process rights were violated when the court ordered him to wear a leg brace during trial. There were no persuasive reasons presented for why restraints were necessary. However, the error was harmless because there was no prejudice demonstrated. No jurors recalled seeing the leg brace, and there was no support for petitioner’s claim that the leg brace interfered with his…

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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)

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…

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