Another Option for Keeping Control of Your Courtroom: Duct Tape

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Here’s another one from the archive, showing why it’s a bad idea to cause a Texas judge to lose his patience with you:

(Whereupon, the following proceedings were held outside the presence and hearing of the jury.)

COURT: All right.  Mr. Shaw, let’s have an understanding here.  Listen to me.

DEFENDANT: I brought –-

COURT: I’m asking you to listen to me, and I’m telling you what is going to happen.

DEFENDANT: You’ve already denied me due process of law, sir.

COURT: Get the duct tape out.

(Whereupon, court remained in adjournment.  At which time the Defendant was bound and gagged.)

Emphasis added.  Duct tape — is there anything it can’t do?

On appeal, the court remanded for a new sentencing phase, finding that defendant had been unfairly prejudiced by having to sit in front of the jury for the duration of the trial while bound and gagged with duct tape.  In part, this belief was based on the fact that the jury sentenced defendant to 99 years in prison for a relatively minor crime.  "Even after considering the appellant’s prior criminal record," the court stated, "we find
this sentence somewhat on the severe end of the spectrum for stealing
cartons of cigarettes from a grocery store."

Shaw v. State, 846 S.W.2d 482 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1993).