A defendant is accused of soliciting the sexual performance of a child. What to do? A hundred years ago they may have tar and feathered him without a trial, but certainly such drastic actions wouldn’t occur in a modern society, right?
The law no longer allows for such responses to criminality. It does allow for prison sentences and other penalties, however, and those remedies should be pursued when warranted.
What we don’t want to do, ever, is punish the accused before he’s been convicted of a crime. Because HE MIGHT BE INNOCENT!
Terry Lee Morris was tried and convicted on one count of soliciting the sexual performance of a child and should get what’s coming to him. Nevertheless, the way he was treated during the trial is inexcusable.
When Morris appeared before Judge George Gallagher of the 396th District Court in Tarrant County in 2016, his disruptive behavior at pretrial hearings prompted bailiffs to recommend that a stun cuff be placed on his ankle during trial.
If you don’t know what a “stun cuff” is, look it up online. Suffice it to say that it’s just what you might surmise. Someone puts one on you and, if he doesn’t like how you’re behaving or just plain doesn’t like you, ZAP!
That’s what happened to Morris, three times, during his trial.
After the third zap, Morris refused to return to the courtroom and was convicted in absentia, but the El Paso Court of Appeals overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial. Last month, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public warning against Gallagher.
Did Morris deserve the shock treatments? Does any defendant, any innocent-until-proven-guilty person, deserve such treatment? If he’s disruptive, he might need to be restrained or removed from the courtroom, but subjected to electric shock? Really?
This time it was Morris. Next time, it could be you.
Written by The Record