Simply because someone is in jail awaiting his or her trial does not mean
that they waive some fundamental rights to a fair trial. Yesterday, we
addressed the issue of whether a defendant can be tried in jail clothing
and discovered that to do so would violate a person's right to a fair trial.
The same principle is true for a defendant being placed in handcuffs during
trial As a general rule, a defendant should not be in handcuffs during
the trial or even brought into the courtroom handcuffed in front of the
jury. The United States Supreme Court and Texas courts have held that
"the routine use of shackles in the presence of juries compromises
the courtroom's formal dignity, which includes the respectful treatment
of defendants . . . ."
As with most areas of the law, there is an exception to every rule. If
the defendant has made threates to court staff or has demonstated a propensity
to escape, then a court might be justified in handcuffing the defendant.
If you have been charged with
theft or a
Plano criminal defense lawyer today.