432 F.2d 997 (4th Cir. 1970), 13734, United States v. Thompson

Docket Nº:13734, 13735.
Citation:432 F.2d 997
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Ernest THOMPSON, Appellant. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. James RICHARDSON, Appellant.
Case Date:September 21, 1970
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

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432 F.2d 997 (4th Cir. 1970)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


Ernest THOMPSON, Appellant.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


James RICHARDSON, Appellant.

Nos. 13734, 13735.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

Sept. 21, 1970

Argued June 1, 1970.

J. Jay Corson, IV, Fairfax, Va. (Boothe, Dudley, Koontz, Blankingship & Stump, Alexandria, Va., on the brief), for appellants.

C. P. Montgomery, Jr., Asst. U.S. Atty. (Brian P. Gettings, U.S. Atty. for Eastern District of Va., on the brief), for appellee.

Before BOREMAN, WINTER and BUTZNER, Circuit Judges.


Ernest Thompson and James Richardson appeal their conviction for trafficking in narcotics in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 173 and 174 while they were jailed at Lorton Correctional Complex. They complain that they were prejudiced because they were required to wear handcuffs throughout their jury trial. In overruling an objection to the handcuffs, the district judge stated:

'The Department at Lorton has informed the Court that in order to insure the safety of these gentlemen I am going to uphold them. They are in prison and that certainly could not prejudice them.'

There is nothing else in the record explaining the necessity for handcuffs.

In United States v. Samuel, 431 F.2d 610 (4th Cir. 1970), we held that a defendant, even though he is imprisoned

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on another charge, has the right to appear before the jury unshackled, unless extraordinary security measures are justified by a showing of necessity on the record. While the trial judge may consider the penal authorities' evaluation of the danger in removing the manacles, the ultimate decision rests within the sound discretion of the judge.

On this scant record we are unable to determine whether the district judge correctly exercised his discretion in denying the defendants' motion to be tried without handcuffs. As in Samuel, we therefore 'request the district judge to supplement the record with a succinct statement of all the reasons and facts and matters from which he concluded to require defendants to be tried before a jury while wearing handcuffs. Within ten days after the filing of such a statement, copies of which shall also be mailed to counsel, counsel may file a memorandum with the Clerk commenting on the legal sufficiency thereof to sustain the action taken...

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