Should people be forced to wear shackles into court during their trial? This question is FINALLY going to be addressed by the Supreme Court after the practice has existed in the US for decades. The issue is in limbo because different appeals courts have come to different conclusions. So much for the mystical powers of Rule of Law.
This issue will be decided not so much by an objective understanding of the concept of a fair trial, but by the political persuasion of the Justices who happen to have been appointed by Democrat or Republican Presidents (assuming, of course, the D or R President actually picked a true adherent to their political ideology and didn’t accidently pick some sort of stealth candidate).
If five justices lean to the republican side, this practice will probably be held Constitutional because reasons, but really because republicans heavily favor muh laws and orders. If five justices lean to the democrat side, this practice will probably be struck down because reasons, because they have a radical distrust of muh laws and orders, unless of course it’s applied to limiting commerce or non-progressive belief.
I’m betting this practice gets upheld, even though any common-sense observation can tell you that seeing someone shackled that you are judging tends to create an image in your mind of someone that is already guilty, even before you’ve heard all the facts of the case.
The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will hear arguments in the United States v. Sanchez-Gomez case, which is looking at whether defendants should have to wear physical restraints, including shackles, when they appear in court.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the practice violated a defendants’ right that he or she be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the use of shackles would be considered on a case-by-case basis.
However, the ruling was later contradicted in two other appeals courts.
The Supreme Court announcement was one of seven cases the court said it take up this term.
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