In Atlanta, Brian Nichols, 6 feet tall and a couple hundred pounds, was being escorted, without cuffs, into court for his rape trial by a female officer, when he grabbed her gun, shot her, the judge, the court reporter, and later a deputy.
Why wasn’t he wearing handcuffs? Because “studies” have shown that jurors are “unfairly influenced” when a person on trial is wearing handcuffs. The “study”, it can be safely assumed, was conducted by somebody who doesn’t have to sit anywhere near defendants in rape and murder trials.
If police find this Nichols guy, and take him alive, I wonder if he’ll be cuff-free for his next trial– Wouldn’t want to unfairly influence the jury, you know. One sure thing is that Nichols will be accompanied by much more security than before, but who knows if he’ll be cuffed. What will influence his next jury more… the prisoner being handcuffed– or cuff-free, but surrounded by a dozen heavily armed officers, six attack dogs, and three bazookas pointed at his head?
By the way, this happened after Nichols, just the day before, tried to smuggle two homemade knives into the courtroom. The shooting took place under the watch of the “extra security” that was provided after the knives were discovered. The bottom line is that desperate people can and will commit violent acts… if they’re not handcuffed.
There are two ways to address situations such as this: Business as usual, or a reassessment of procedures. Which will it be? Whichever is the most politically correct. This unfortunate incident will not change how defendants are treated in court. What will happen is a call for more funding for holster technology research.
Police and security holsters have two or three separate steps involved in order to remove a weapon. Brian Nichols obviously was familiar with these steps, or else the weapon wasn’t properly secured by the security officer.
The PC attitude will prevail. Defendants will not be cuffed in court, but the holsters will be made so tough to get into that even the officer will spend ten minutes figuring it out. An unfortunate lesson throughout history, however, is that scumbags are often a step or two ahead of the rest of us on some issues. Nowhere does the old phrase “Necessity is the mother of invention” apply more than to desperate criminals, who will figure out how any holster works before many officers are able to.
Good luck now finding jurors for Nichols’ next trial who haven’t heard of this story, not to mention ones who are going to want to be in the same room with him when he’s not wearing handcuffs.
A dangerous person in court, not wearing handcuffs so it won’t “influence the jury” may have the reverse effect, detrimental to the defendant, and PC lawmakers, civil rights leaders, and liberal attorneys need to face up to that. What do I mean be “detrimental” to the defendant?
Brian Nichols wasn’t handcuffed, and he’s killed people as a result. In a politically correct national quest to not influence a jury, the jury in the coming trial has been greatly influenced– And not in a good way for the likes of Mr. Nichols.
Because courts and lawmakers have given priority to appearances over pragmatism, a rape trial has turned into a murder trial– And some good people are now dead so an unhinged prisoner could have a fair shake with the jury.
I’m sure that’s a big consolation to victims families.