Cutting costs doesn't justify the Southern District of California's policy of shackling pretrial detainees for most court appearances, the Ninth Circuit ruled Tuesday.
In March 2013, the U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of California wrote to the district's chief judge, requesting that the court adopt a policy of producing defendants in full restraints for most nonjury proceedings. Full restraints include handcuffs and leg shackles connected to a belly band by a chain.
The judge responded later that year, stating that the district's judges would defer to the request with the exception of guilty pleas, sentencing hearings, and if a judge asks the marshals to remove the restraints.
The Federal Defenders of San Diego filed a challenge to the policy on behalf of three defendants, but the judge denied the challenge.
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