What is the current state of the law on in-court restraints?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Moore, E070130 (Cal. App. 2019):

"In general, the 'court has broad power to maintain courtroom security and orderly proceedings' [citation], and its decisions on these matters are reviewed for abuse of discretion." (People v. Lomax (2010) 49 Cal.4th 530, 558.) Under the "manifest need" standard, however, "the trial court's discretion is relatively narrow." (People v. Cox (1991) 53 Cal.3d 618, 651, disapproved on another ground in People v. Doolin (2009) 45 Cal.4th 390.) "The imposition of restraints without evidence in the record establishing a threat of violence, escape, or nonconforming conduct is an abuse of discretion." (People v. Gamache (2010) 48 Cal.4th 347, 367-368; see also Duran, supra, 16 Cal.3d at p. 291 ["[t]he showing of nonconforming behavior in support of the court's determination to impose physical restraints must appear as a matter of record . . . ."].) Moreover, "the Courts of Appeal have generally read Duran as requiring that a defendant make specific threats of violence or escape from court or demonstrate unruly conduct in court before in-court restraints are justified." (People v. Valenzuela (1984) 151 Cal.App.3d 180, 192.)

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