Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said he will appeal a judge’s recent ruling ordering his department to stop its blanket policy of shackling inmates at the waist inside county courthouses, publicly attacking the move as a “significant judicial overreach.”
Last week, in response to several requests from defense attorneys, O.C. Superior Court Judge Kathleen Roberts issued a ruling saying the Sheriff’s Department’s policy of shackling inmates, often for hours, as they await court appearances “demeans the dignity of the court process.”
“It is impermissible,” the judge wrote, “to allow a policy of blanket shackling of inmates in holding cells.”
Roberts’ ruling, however, isn’t an absolute ban on the practice. Sheriff’s officials can still use waist restraints while transporting inmates from jail to the courthouse, Roberts wrote, and can make case-by-case requests to judges for certain inmates to be restrained even in the courthouse.
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