Published: Fri, March 09, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Laurence Reese

Judge punishes sex offender with electric shocks in courtroom

Judge punishes sex offender with electric shocks in courtroom

But an appeals court in El Paso, Texas, reversed the conviction on 28 February and ordered a new trial on the basis that the judge was using the belt unconstitutionally, to "enforce decorum" rather than to subdue a unsafe man. As originally reported by the Texas Lawyer website Tuesday, Terry Lee Morris, who'd been found guilty of sex crimes against a child and given a 60-year prison sentence, will receive a new trial after the 8th Court of Appeals in Texas found Judge George Gallagher ordered his bailiff to administer electric shocks to Morris for not answering questions the way Gallagher wanted, per the BBC.

A sex offender has had his conviction overturned after a judge ordered he be electrically shocked for failing to answer questions properly during his trial. Morris continued talking, Gallagher warned him to stop making "outbursts".

Gallagher asked again: "Are you going to follow the rules?" "I was trying to defuse Morris instead of telling the judge what to do". I was standing right next to him and I was scared of him. Gallagher asked Morris, according to the opinion.

"Would you hit him again?"

Judges are prohibited from shocking defendants in their courtrooms just because they won't answer questions, the court said, or because they fail to follow the court's rules of decorum.

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Morris: "Sir, I've asked you to recuse yourself".

Let's hope so. Morris's re-trial will be presided over by Judge Gallagher.

A Texas judge is accused of crossing the line after reports surfaced that he ordered a stun gun to be used on a defendant in his court room.

A Texas judge used a cruel and unusual punishment to compel a defendant to answer his questions, a move that the state's Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has deemed unconstitutional.

The higher court determined that Gallagher only shocked Morris as a form of punishment and not for any security reasons, the outlet reports.

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The exchange between the judge and the defendant reveals an unnecessary use of the stun belt in order to quell what Gallagher believed was inappropriate talk from Morris in 2014.

According to the report, Judge Gallagher shocked Morris three times throughout the trial, but his actions have been deemed too extreme, leading to Morris' conviction being overturned.

The judge ordered the defendant to be shocked two more times as Mr Morris told the court he had a history of mental illness and complained that he was being "tortured".

After more back-and-forth, Gallagher asks, "Are you going to behave?"

"And oddly enough, the shock collar didn't work", he said.

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Lisa Mullen, Morris's attorney on appeal, said she was pleased with the court of appeals decision. "I felt that if I could have gotten Morris calmed down we could get through his thing". "I know it says he was getting electrocuted, but they didn't shock him". But the appeals court disagreed it was OK to shock Morris, noting that courts must not "allow practices like these to. lead our courts to drift from justice into barbarism". Gallagher could have held him in contempt, for example. The opinion said 50,000 volts can have cognitive impairment effects on a defendant, but it did not mention what Morris' condition was after being shocked. He said it was as if "you had nine-inch nails and you tried to rip my sides out and then you put a heat lamp on me". Activated by a button on a remote control, the stun belt delivers an eight-second, 50,000-volt shock to the person wearing it, which immobilizes him so that bailiffs can swiftly neutralize any security threats.

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