MMS Friends

Monday, May 23, 2005

Supreme Court bans shackles on defendants

Remember Brian Nichols? He's the guy who killed a judge, a court reporter and a sheriff's deputy during an Atlanta courtroom rampage, then killed a federal agent during his escape. It's going to happen again, courtesy of your Supreme Court:
The Supreme Court ruled today that it is unconstitutional to force capital murder defendants to appear before juries in chains and shackles. Justices, on a 7-2 vote, threw out the conviction of Carman Deck, who was shackled in leg irons and handcuffed to a chain around his belly when he faced a Missouri jury that put him on death row. The high court had already held that people on trial can be shackled only if prosecutors have a strong argument for it.
Apparently "this guy kills people" isn't a strong enough argument for restraining a murderer.
Today's decision involves sentencing hearings in capital murder cases. Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the court, said that shackling indicates to juries "that court authorities consider the offender a danger to the community."
Yeah, Breyer, that's the point. The offender is a danger to the community. That's why he was investigated, arrested, searched, jailed, arraigned, subject to pre-trial hearings, tried and convicted.


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