New rule released this week on restraining defendants during trial
By Bethany Krajelis
Law Bulletin staff writer
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Supreme Court codified two of its opinions on restraining defendants in a new rule released this week, about two months after an attorney urged the justices to stop the routine shackling of detained juveniles.
Supreme Court Rule 430 states that incarcerated defendants should not be placed in any type of restraint during trial unless there is a clear need to protect the security of the court, maintain the order of proceedings or prevent an escape.
Effective July 1, the rule requires a separate hearing on the need for restraints to be held once the trial judge becomes aware of the restraints, but before letting the defendant appear before the jury.
Though these hearings are now required under the new Supreme Court rule, they aren’t new.
Commonly referred to as Boose hearings, these hearings, as well as factors judges should consider during them, were outlined more than three decades ago in the Illinois Supreme Court opinion in People v. Boose, 66 Ill. 2d 261 (1977).
The new rule simply codifies the court’s holding in Boose as well as its 2006 opinion in People v. Allen, 222 Ill. 2d 340.
In Boose, the state high court held that a defendant could not be shackled before a jury without showing that there was a need for restraint. The court said that this showing can be based on a number of factors, including the possibility the defendant would try to escape or endanger the safety of the courtroom.
In the Illinois Supreme Court’s 4-3 holding in Allen, the court held that a defendant’s due process rights were violated when he was required to wear an electronic stun belt during his trial without having a hearing on the need for the restraint.
The three dissenting justices argued in a 25-page dissent written by Justice Charles E. Freeman that the majority erred in reasoning the defendant in Allen was not entitled to a new trial because he failed to prove the absence of a Boose hearing affected the fairness of his trial.
Though Boose and Allen make it clear that such hearings are required, the new rule lays out 10 factors trial judges must consider before determining whether the need for restraints outweighs the defendant’s right to be free from such restraint.
Those factors are: 1) the seriousness of the charge, 2) the defendant’s temperament or character, 3) the defendant’s age and physical attributes, 4) the defendant’s criminal history, 5) the defendant’s history of past, attempted or planned escapes, 6) evidence of threats made by the defendant, 7) evidence of risk of mob violence, 8) evidence of the possibility others would try to rescue the defendant, 9) the size and mood of the courtroom’s audience and 10) the physical security of the courtroom.
The new rule also comes on the heels of an oral argument in the case of In re Jonathan, C.B., No. 107750, which took place in January and focused on the shackling of a minor in Champaign County.
Though the court has yet to release an opinion in this case, the minor’s attorney Catherine K. Hart, an assistant appellate defender, said she speculates her case may have spurred the new rule.
“Most of the justices’ questions had to do with if there was enough evidence to support my argument that shackling is a widespread problem,” she said Friday.
During her argument before the court, Hart spent a good portion of her time on the issue of shackling. She said her juvenile defendant’s due process rights were violated when he was shackled without a Boose hearing.
To bolster her argument, Hart told the justices about Justice Thomas R. Appleton’s dissent of the 4th District Appellate Court opinion, which affirmed the adjudication of her client’s delinquency. Appleton said in his dissent that “In Champaign County, defendants wear chains as a seeming matter of course.”
One of the several questions posed during the January argument came from Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier. He asked Hart if she was wanted the Supreme Court to require trial judges to conduct Boose hearings even when there is no objection or request from counsel to do so.
She told the justices that “Trial courts should have the responsibility to have a Boose hearing every time a juvenile is brought to court in shackles.”
On Friday, Hart said she was happy the justices codified their previous holdings in the new rule that she hopes will help further protect the due process rights of incarcerated defendants.
New Supreme Court Rule 430, as well as video from the oral argument in Jonathan C.B and the court’s 2006 opinion in Allen, can be found on the Supreme Court Web site.