CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL LAW: PLACING A SHERIFF’S DEPUTY IN A CHAIR NEXT TO A TESTIFYING DEFENDANT (OUTRAGEOUS!)

This was an outrage of the week in 2007, and it’s an outrage of this week as well. There was no claim that the defendant had been disruptive or presented any sort of danger.

Nevertheless, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office had a policy that when in-custody defendants testify, a sheriff’s deputy pulls up a chair next to the defendant in the witness box, and sits there throughout the defendant’s testimony.

Incredibly, the Supreme Court of California hold that this wasn’t shackling and was just fine, because, get this, it’s not inherently prejudicial. And maybe the jurors thought that the bailiff was there to protect the defendant. From the jurors?

What?

People v. Stevens; 2009 DJ DAR 15705; DJ, 11/6/09; Cal. Supremes

 

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