A judge in Texas has been sharply criticised for delivering electric shocks to a defendant to enforce courtroom decorum.
An appeal court has now thrown out Terry Lee Morris’s conviction for soliciting sexual performance for a 15-year-old girl on the basis that the shocks violated his constitutional rights.
A courtroom transcript shows how State District Judge George Gallagher ordered the bailiff to activate the “stun belt” around Mr Morris’s legs three times because he wasn’t following “the rules”.
Mr Morris protested that he was being “tortured” for seeking the judge’s recusal, but his defence lawyer did not intervene.
The stun belts pack a 50,000-volt to 70,000-volt punch, the Washington Post reports.
Justice Yvonne T. Rodriguez of Texas Eighth Court of Appeals, throwing out the conviction, said: “This Court cannot sit idly by and say nothing when a judge turns a court of law into a Skinner Box, electrocuting a defendant until he provides the judge with behaviour he likes.”
- Contributions from ILN readers to our “And finally” section are welcome – they should be sent to: email@example.com