Proposed Legislation Would Reduce the Use of Shackles on Juveniles in the Courtroom - Stamford Criminal Attorney | Connecticut Drug Crimes Lawyer

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Proposed Legislation Would Reduce the Use of Shackles on Juveniles in the Courtroom

Posted on in Juvenile Crimes

juveniles handcuffed in court, Stamford criminal defense lawyerFor juveniles who have been arrested on criminal charges, facing a judge can be an intimidating experience. Appearing before a judge while the juvenile is wearing shackles is considered by some to be too traumatizing for many juveniles and sends them the wrong message.

Two Connecticut lawmakers have introduced bills that would limit the circumstances under which juveniles would be kept in shackles in the courtroom. The legislation would create a presumption that shackles will not be used in the courtroom unless ordered by the court. Existing policy states that juveniles are to be shackled while being transferred from a detention center to the courthouse, but a determination is then made as to whether the shackles stay on in the courtroom based on how the juvenile behaved in detention.

However, there is some disagreement as to whether the policy is followed consistently in all cases. It is reported that in some cases, shackles are not removed from the juvenile unless requested by the juvenile’s attorney. This is an instance where it pays to have an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney at your side.

Shackles can consist of handcuffs and leg irons attached to belly chains. According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch Court Support Services as reported in the Hartford Courant, instances of juveniles in full restraints dropped from 84 percent in 2012 to 23 percent in 2013, and the percentage of unrestrained juveniles increased from two percent to 25 percent during the same time period. But the percentage of juveniles in only leg irons increased from 14 percent to 52 percent, a disturbing upward trend.

Other states have changed their laws in the same manner that is being proposed for Connecticut.  Juvenile justice advocates say that shackling in court erodes the juveniles’ sense of control and reinforces the idea that they are bad and cannot be trusted to respect the court.

If your child has been arrested, you want an experienced Stamford, CT juvenile criminal defense attorney who knows the system to protect your child’s rights. Contact the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner today for help with your case.