- Feb 25, 2013
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For me, this part of the article is interesting ...
^^rsbma visual sight of being dressed properly could be helpful. Perhaps a reminder she is a mom.
For as long as I can recall, the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution have long been the basis for both U.S. and State Courts allowing criminal defendants in custody to appear at TRIAL without restraints and/or "prison garb" -- and instead dressed in civilian or street attire. Nothing unusual here...
But every state including Utah is different on what they allow in their criminal courts, pursuant to the State's own bill of rights, including whether or not to consider a motion for a defendant in custody to appear in street attire-- anytime PRIOR to voir dire (juror selection) or the actual trial (where a defendant will be in view of the jury or potential jurors). (Estelle v. Williams, 425 U.S. 501, 505 (1976)).
For example, we know Alex Murdaugh's defense wasted no time seeking the court's permission for the defendant to wear civilian clothes-- as early as his arraignment, relying on the argument it would be prejudicial for the defendant in this high profile case with large amounts of media attention to be seen in jail garb, replayed 24/7 in MSM and social media, and the court granted the motion.
Whereas Colorado, known to hold firm on no cameras in the courtrooms of criminal trials, pursuant to the State's constitution, typically does not consider granting requests for street clothes except for when a defendant is in view of jurors -- also citing Estelle, and how the holding applies only to trials “before a jury," and not pretrial court hearings or appearances.
In the case of Colorado's Letecia Stauch, Judge Werner had to convince the defendant to reconsider wearing civilian clothes at her TRIAL after she first told the court she wanted to wear her jail garb because she didn't believe it would make any difference.
In this same case, Colorado Judge Werner also warned the defendant he could restrain her to a post specially installed beneath the defense table-- where the State's bill of rights provides in the exercise of its discretion, that restraints are justified by a State interest specific to the particular defendant on trial.
So the real question here is what precedent and case law is already set in Utah criminal courts for defendants in custody to appear at pretrial hearings in street attire. IMO, here lies the answer, and not whether the defendant is a mother.
Estelle v Williams