Stronger Courtroom Security Measures

Inmates Wear Leg Restraints To Court

There was stronger security in courtrooms as Lee County District District Court opened following the swearing in of Sheriff Tracy Carter on Monday. Sheriff Carter ordered that inmates be placed in leg restraints when appearing before judges in pretrial proceedings. This change in policy practically eliminates the risk that inmates may flee the courtroom and significantly increases the ability of bailiffs to control them, according to Chief Bailiff James Davis. The practice is similar to that used in Superior Court and has been expanded to district court. Adding the restraints, which take less than two minutes to apply, impedes the mobility of inmates and makes them easier to be pushed to the floor in the event of threatening behavior. Most judges do not allow the use of leg restraints during jury trials as it is thought to have the potential to prejudice the jury. In most instances, cases in district court are disposed of through guilty pleas resulting from plea bargain arrangements so inmates will most always be restrained under the new procedures.