A convicted pedophile in Texas saw his conviction overturned after an appeal was granted for a new trial by the Texas Eighth Court of Appeals decided a judge was too "barbaric" towards the man during his 2014 trial.
While it is not uncommon for suspects in Tarrant County to wear a stun belt around their legs while in court, the appeals court ruled in Terry Lee Morris favor when they determined the judge's use of a shock belt was too barbaric.
Morris is accused of soliciting his girlfriend's 15-year-old daughter for sex but during his trial, the Fort Worth Judge George Gallagher ordered a bailiff to shock him three times. The bailiff was hesitant to do so but was obligated to follow Gallagher's orders.
According to Gallagher, Morris was being too unruly in the courtroom when he continued to ramble and have outbursts. However, Judge Yvonne T. Rodriguez ruled at Morris' appeals hearing that judges aren't allowed to shock suspects for being loud or unruly.
Rodriguez said, "While the trial court’s frustration with an obstreperous defendant is understandable, the judge’s disproportionate response is not. We do not believe that trial judges can use stun belts to enforce decorum. A stun belt is a device meant to ensure physical safety; it is not a collar meant to punish a defendant until he obeys a judge’s whim."
Morris said the "shock treatment" made him too afraid to go back into the courtroom, apparently, he could not just control himself and refrain from making outbursts in the first place.
When the bailiff stunned Morris, he sent a 50,000-volt shock through his body which incapacitated him for around eight seconds for each stun. The shock is known to make the recipient to involuntary defecate and/or urinate on themselves as well as cause fear and anxiety.
Rodriguez also added, "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 behavior he likes."
As a result of the shocks, Morris has a pending lawsuit against Gallagher. Morris is set to receive a new trial but it is unclear when it will be.
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