United States v. Sanchez-Gomez, No. 13-50561 (9th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
If the government seeks to shackle a defendant, it must first justify the infringement with specific security needs as to that particular defendant. Before a presumptively innocent defendant may be shackled, the court must make an individualized decision that a compelling government purpose would be served and that shackles are the least restrictive means for maintaining security and order in the courtroom. The Ninth Circuit construed defendants' appeal as petitions for writs of mandamus under its supervisory authority and found that it had jurisdiction to consider them. The en banc court held that there was still a live controversy over the shackling policy and the case was not moot because of the capable-of-repetition-yet-evading-review exception to mootness. The en banc court clarified the right to be free from shackles and held that it applies whether the proceeding is pretrial, trial, or sentencing, with a jury or without. Although the en banc court held that the policy was unconstitutional, the court withheld the issuance of a formal writ of mandamus.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on August 25, 2015.