People v. Allen, No. 99977.

CourtIllinois Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtKarmeier
Citation856 N.E.2d 349,222 Ill.2d 340,305 Ill.Dec. 544
Docket NumberNo. 99977.
Decision Date02 June 2006
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellant, v. Peri ALLEN, Appellee.
856 N.E.2d 349
222 Ill.2d 340
305 Ill.Dec. 544
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellant,
v.
Peri ALLEN, Appellee.
No. 99977.
Supreme Court of Illinois.
June 2, 2006.
Rehearing Denied September 25, 2006.

[856 N.E.2d 350]

Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, Springfield, James W. Glasgow, State's Attorney, Joliet (Gary Feinerman, Solicitor General, Linda D. Woloshin, Russell K. Benton, Assistant Attorneys General, Chicago, Norbert J. Goetten, Lawrence M. Bauer and Terry A. Mertel, Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor, Ottawa, of counsel), for the People.

Robert Agostinelli, Deputy Defender, and Fletcher P. Hamill, Assistant Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Ottawa, for appellee.

James W. Glasgow, State's Attorney, Joliet (Domenica A., Osterberger, Assistant State's Attorney, of counsel), for amicus curiae Paul J. Kaupas, Will county Sheriff.

Justice KARMEIER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion:


After a jury trial in the circuit court of Will County, defendant, Peri Allen, was

856 N.E.2d 351

found guilty of burglary and was sentenced to a four-year term of imprisonment. The appellate court reversed and remanded for a new trial, holding that defendant had "adequately alleged plain error" where the trial court abused its discretion in requiring defendant to wear an electronic stun belt as a restraining device at trial without the explicit analysis and finding of necessity required by People v. Boose, 66 Ill.2d 261, 5 Ill.Dec. 832, 362 N.E.2d 303 (1977). 354 Ill.App.3d 442, 446, 290 Ill.Dec. 284, 821 N.E.2d 335. We granted the State's petition for leave to appeal under Rule 315 (177 Ill.2d R. 315), and granted Paul J. Kaupas, Will County sheriff, permission to file an amicus curiae brief in support of the State (155 Ill.2d R. 345(a)).

Defendant was indicted for the offense of burglary for entering a motor vehicle, belonging to Will County Auto Wreckers, with the intent to commit a theft. Prior to jury selection on February 11, 2003, defense counsel asked to approach the bench for a sidebar conference with the trial judge, after which the judge stated: "Apparently the defendant still has his handcuffs on. They have been under the table there, so the jurors didn't get all the way into the courtroom so there should be no problem, but if we can take them off now. Okay. Thank you." Two days later, after the trial court's denial of defendant's motion for a directed verdict and immediately prior to the State resting and defense counsel calling defendant to the stand, the following colloquy occurred:

"[Defense Counsel]: Oh, your Honor, one thing. I don't know exactly what it is that [defendant] has. There is something that he is wearing on his back and—

THE COURT: Well, it is under his clothes, correct?

[Defense Counsel]: Right, but even standing here I can notice it. It is a fairly noticeable object.

THE COURT: Would you prefer to just have him seated in the witness stand at this point?

[Defense Counsel]: I would prefer unless that can be removed somehow.

THE COURT OFFICER: No.

THE COURT: That's a security device. The deputy has control of it. [Defendant] does not have shackles on. He does not have handcuffs on. He is in custody and he is restrained in no other manner whatsoever, so for security purposes we keep that on him. At this time it has been out of view. It is under his clothes, but I think that if he did walk across the room, [the jury] may view something or a form of some kind under his clothes, so if you prefer to have him seated in the box, we can do that now.

[Defense Counsel]: Can we do that now?

THE COURT: Have a seat right up here, sir. When you're sworn in, I suppose you can just sit. You don't have to stand to be sworn in.

DEFENDANT: Right.

THE COURT: That way they'll never see it. All right, bring the jurors in." (Emphasis added.)

No further mention of the "security device" was made at trial, and defendant did not include any issue concerning the restraint in his posttrial motion.

On direct appeal, the sole issue raised by defendant was "whether it was error for the defendant to be forced to wear an electronic security belt as a restraining device at trial." 354 Ill.App.3d at 443, 290 Ill.Dec. 284, 821 N.E.2d 335. Initially, we agree with the appellate court that while the trial court never referred to the "security device" as an electronic stun belt, "we

856 N.E.2d 352

feel confident in our assessment that it was indeed that type of restraining device." 354 Ill.App.3d at 443, 290 Ill.Dec. 284, 821 N.E.2d 335. The State does not suggest what the bulging security device under defendant's shirt might have been, other than a stun belt. The appellate court's finding is especially probable where, in People v. Martinez, 347 Ill. App.3d 1001, 1003, 283 Ill.Dec. 801, 808 N.E.2d 1089 (2004), another recent Will County circuit court case, the State asked the appellate court to validate the Will County sheriff's "standard operating procedure" of requiring all felony defendants in custody to wear a stun belt while appearing in court. Even the dissent agrees that such a "blanket policy" existed in the Will County sheriff's department. 222 Ill.2d at 379, 305 Ill.Dec. at 566, 856 N.E.2d at 371 (Freeman, J., dissenting, joined by McMorrow, J. and Kilbride, J.) In addition, there is at least one other case pending before this court involving the use of electronic stun belts on felony defendants in Will County. See People v. Johnson, 356 Ill.App.3d 208, 292 Ill.Dec. 177, 825 N.E.2d 765 (3d Dist.2005), appeal denied, 221 Ill.2d 655, 306 Ill.Dec. 279, 857 N.E.2d 678 (2006).

Having agreed with the appellate court that defendant was wearing an electronic stun belt, we now examine whether Boose, which generally applies to the "physical restraint" of defendants in the courtroom (Boose, 66 Ill.2d at 266, 5 Ill.Dec. 832, 362 N.E.2d 303), also applies to the concealed electronic restraint involved in this case. First, the Will County sheriff, as amicus curiae, argues, inter alia, that an electronic "security belt" is not a restraining device that lends itself to due process scrutiny pursuant to Boose, citing Deck v. Missouri, 544 U.S. 622, 125 S.Ct. 2007, 161 L.Ed.2d 953 (2005). However, Deck does not speak to the circumstances present here. In Deck, the United States Supreme Court concluded that due process "prohibit[s] the use of physical restraints visible to the jury absent a trial court determination, in the exercise of its discretion, that they are justified by a state interest specific to a particular trial." (Emphasis added.) Deck, 544 U.S. at 629, 125 S.Ct. at 2012, 161 L.Ed.2d at 963. Nowhere in Deck does the Court consider the question raised herein, i.e., whether a concealed electronic stun belt worn under a defendant's garments should be classified as a "physical restraint" which lends itself to due process scrutiny. Accordingly, Deck does not support the argument of amicus, as it does not even address concealed restraints. Indeed, we find that the Deck Court's stated reasons which prompt due process scrutiny in visible restraint cases — the presumption of innocence, securing a meaningful defense, and maintaining dignified proceedings — may be applied with like force to stun belts which are not necessarily visible to the jury. See Deck, 544 U.S. at 631, 125 S.Ct. at 2013, 161 L.Ed.2d at 963-64.

In In re Staley, 67 Ill.2d 33, 37, 7 Ill.Dec. 85, 364 N.E.2d 72 (1977), this court stated:

"The possibility of prejudicing a jury, however, is not the only reason why courts should not allow the shackling of an accused in the absence of a strong necessity for doing so. The presumption of innocence is central to our administration of criminal justice. In the absence of exceptional circumstances, an accused has the right to stand trial `with the appearance, dignity, and self-respect of a free and innocent man.' [Citation.] It jeopardizes the presumption's value and protection and demeans our justice for an accused without clear cause to be required to stand in a courtroom in manacles or other restraints while he is being judged."

856 N.E.2d 353

Thus, even when there is no jury, any unnecessary restraint is impermissible because it hinders the defendant's ability to assist his counsel, runs afoul of the presumption of innocence, and demeans both the defendant and the proceedings. See Staley, 67 Ill.2d at 36-37, 7 Ill.Dec. 85, 364 N.E.2d 72; Martinez, 347 Ill.App.3d at 1005-06, 283 Ill.Dec. 801, 808 N.E.2d 1089. We therefore agree with the appellate court herein which, citing Martinez, concluded that an electronic stun belt "is no less a restraint than manacles or handcuffs." 354 Ill.App.3d at 445, 290 Ill.Dec. 284, 821 N.E.2d 335.

As noted by defendant, it appears that almost every court which has reviewed this issue has held that electronic stun belts are restraining devices the use of which is subject to the same restrictions as shackles. See, e.g., United States v. McKissick, 204 F.3d 1282, 1299 (10th Cir.2000); People v. Mar, 28 Cal.4th 1201, 1219-20, 52 P.3d 95, 106, 124 Cal.Rptr.2d 161, 175 (2002); People v. Melanson, 937 P.2d 826, 835 (Colo.App.1996); Young v. State, 269 Ga. 478, 479, 499 S.E.2d 60, 61 (1998); State v. Adams, 103 Ohio St.3d 508, 529-30, 817 N.E.2d 29, 52-53 (2004). One exception to this approach for dealing with electronic stun belts is found in Wrinkles v. State, 749 N.E.2d 1179, 1194 (Ind.2001), wherein the Supreme Court of Indiana banned the use of such restraints from its courtrooms altogether. However, contrary to the dissent's contention, in this case we are not faced with the question of whether stun belts should continue to be used in Illinois courtrooms. Rather, we are asked to determine whether, and we find that, this court's holdings in Boose and Staley regarding shackles apply equally to those defendants who are restrained by means of an electronic stun belt worn under their clothing at trial, and that...

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142 practice notes
  • People v. Jackson, No. S086269.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 3, 2014
    ...findings” that include “whether there is a less onerous but adequate means of providing security”]; Illinois v. Allen (2006) 222 Ill.2d 340, 305 Ill.Dec. 544, 856 N.E.2d 349, 353–354( Allen ) [holding that “the use of electronic stun belts in the courts of this state is warranted only where......
  • People v. Jackson, No. S086269.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 14, 2014
    ...findings” that include “whether there is a less onerous but adequate means of providing security”]; Illinois v. Allen (2006) 222 Ill.2d 340, 305 Ill.Dec. 544, 856 N.E.2d 349, 353–354( Allen ) [holding that “the use of electronic stun belts in the courts of this state is warranted only where......
  • People v. C.B. (In re C.B.), Docket No. 107750
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • June 30, 2011
    ...defendant's counsel an opportunity to present reasons why the defendant should not be restrained." (Emphasis added.) People v. Allen, 222 Ill. 2d 340, 348 (2006). However, it is axiomatic that in order to determine whether a defendant should remain physically restrained, a circuit court mus......
  • State v. Johnson, No. 2004-1163.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • December 13, 2006
    ...amounts to forfeiture of the error, where he cannot establish that it prevented him from obtaining a fair trial." People v. Allen (2006), 222 Ill.2d 340, 305 Ill.Dec. 544, 856 N.E.2d 349, citing Estelle v. Williams (1976), 425 U.S. 501, 512-513, 96 S.Ct. 1691, 48 L.Ed.2d {¶ 247} Therefore, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
142 cases
  • People v. Jackson, No. S086269.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 3, 2014
    ...findings” that include “whether there is a less onerous but adequate means of providing security”]; Illinois v. Allen (2006) 222 Ill.2d 340, 305 Ill.Dec. 544, 856 N.E.2d 349, 353–354( Allen ) [holding that “the use of electronic stun belts in the courts of this state is warranted only where......
  • People v. Jackson, No. S086269.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 14, 2014
    ...findings” that include “whether there is a less onerous but adequate means of providing security”]; Illinois v. Allen (2006) 222 Ill.2d 340, 305 Ill.Dec. 544, 856 N.E.2d 349, 353–354( Allen ) [holding that “the use of electronic stun belts in the courts of this state is warranted only where......
  • People v. C.B. (In re C.B.), Docket No. 107750
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • June 30, 2011
    ...defendant's counsel an opportunity to present reasons why the defendant should not be restrained." (Emphasis added.) People v. Allen, 222 Ill. 2d 340, 348 (2006). However, it is axiomatic that in order to determine whether a defendant should remain physically restrained, a circuit court mus......
  • State v. Johnson, No. 2004-1163.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • December 13, 2006
    ...amounts to forfeiture of the error, where he cannot establish that it prevented him from obtaining a fair trial." People v. Allen (2006), 222 Ill.2d 340, 305 Ill.Dec. 544, 856 N.E.2d 349, citing Estelle v. Williams (1976), 425 U.S. 501, 512-513, 96 S.Ct. 1691, 48 L.Ed.2d {¶ 247} Therefore, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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