Magazine article Corrections Forum

Stun Belt Use in Question

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Stun Belt Use in Question

Article excerpt

Los Angeles Times

The California Supreme Court made what could become a landmark ruling when it overturned the conviction of James Allen Mar, who was sentenced to 26 years to life for resisting and harming a peace officer escorting him from his cell. The court said police failed to prove Mar was potentially dangerous to jurors and others in the courtroom to justify forcing him to wear a stun belt able to deliver an electric shock of 50,000 volts for eight seconds. The judge in the original case ordered the stun belt used despite protests from Mar, whose testimony was clearly affected by fear of the device. The ruling could have broader ramifications for the device, which has been used more than 65,000 times in the United States since its introduction in 1993. The California supreme court noted the danger of accidental discharge of the device and the humiliating effects of its activation, including knocking the defendant to ground and possible defecation and urination. …

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