View Full Version : Clothes at arraignment or prelim hearing

07-12-2016, 06:51 AM
NYC murder trial

I had written my MC in the L&O orange jumpsuit and shackles, then Googled it.

The info available is confusing.

There are articles from 2015 debating whether uniforms are needed at Rikers.

1) do the accused attend arraignment and prelim hearing in casual clothes?

2) or, do they have uniforms for trips to the court?

3) are all suspects shackled?

4) unrelated to attire - my understanding is that suspects have to be arraigned in 48 hours, have a prelim hearing within 10 days? Does the trial itself need to be within a certain time frame?

07-12-2016, 07:53 AM
You might want to read BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES. There have been some changes, but not a lot.

NYC is big, so what is done in the Bronx might not be done on Staten Island. Once the inmate is processed from being arrested, and is being held on a no-bail status, which would be typical of a murder suspect, he would be issued a uniform and his street clothes removed. I believe uniforms indicate different statuses. A murder suspect would be held in maximum security and would almost definitely be always shackled for moves.

I don't know whether there are video hearings done in NYC. It would seem likely, as the cost savings would be massive. For preliminary hearings, he would probably not be permitted to wear his street clothes.

There is a right to a speedy trial, but this is a funky one to figure. It's probably going to be either six or nine months, but most defense lawyers tend to stall these things out. Witnesses die and move and forget so rushing to trial is only done by Perry Mason. Defense attorneys have the motto that no case shall be tried before its time. My record, for someone who was on the street, was over five years. Ended up with the case being dropped after they were able to convict my client in another county for a different case.

In New York, unlike most places, I believe you're usually held in the police station until your court appearance. But court is held a lot more hours than most places, and I think some of them over 24 hour service.

Jim Clark-Dawe

T Robinson
07-13-2016, 02:55 AM
In Georgia, it is almost always prison/jail attire, till it gets to a trial. Here, the color tells what level of security needed. Rare exceptions.
What do you mean by shackled? Varies by jurisdiction, usually belly chains and leg irons around here.
All jurisdictions vary a bit. Look for "rules of court for criminal procedures" in the place you are using as a setting. Name might be different. Probably online in some areas. Jim will know more. Here is a link to what I am talking about;

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjRlbDMgu_NAhWBbCYKHUOwBTEQFggeMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nycourts.gov%2Frules%2Ftrial courts%2F200.shtml&usg=AFQjCNHWtZ8sSbGK8JbQnaiGasRuZrvmQQ&sig2=M1F79KeaOFdFRApUkwt4zA

07-13-2016, 04:00 AM
Leg irons are southern, by and large, and come from the old ball and chain road gangs. Shackles are northern and are now the same thing, a short chain connecting your two ankles together. Security is a decision of the court officers or bailiffs or sheriffs normally. Every so often the judge will become involved.

I believe in NYC your cuffs are not removed for short hearings. Arraignments are about five minutes or less. Preliminary hearings vary. Longer hearings it depends upon your behavior. If you're not being an idiot, some or all of your cuffs can be removed. Or if you're a pain in the butt, you'll be shackled to the floor.

Jim Clark-Dawe

07-13-2016, 08:10 PM
With rare exception, restraints in U.S. courtrooms are common and largely at the discretion of the judge with input/recommendation from court security personnel--unless there is a jury present. Courts would rather not have jurors see a (yet to be tried/convicted) defendant in restraints as it might give the appearance or impression of guilt thereby possibly tainting the standard of innocent until proven guilty, subsequently corrupting due process and compromising the defendant's constitutional rights. Even in high-threat proceedings (in the presence of a jury), when restraints are deemed mandatory, an effort is made to minimize observable indications of existing restraints.