State v. Madsen

In State v. Madsen, 2002 UT App 345, 57 P.3d 1134 (Utah Ct. App. 2002), the Court of Appeals of Utah addressed the claim that requiring the defendant to stand trial in leg shackles was inherently prejudicial. In rejecting that claim, the court acknowledged that, although visible shackling is inherently prejudicial: If the jury cannot see the defendant's shackles, there can be no prejudice. See, e.g., United States v. Mayes, 158 F.3d 1215, 1226-27 (11th Cir.1998) ("The restraints in this case were not capable of affecting the jury's attitude in any way because the district court took great care to ensure that the jury never saw that the appellants were wearing leg irons."); United States v. Brazel, 102 F.3d 1120, 1158 (11th Cir.1997) ("Defendants, moreover, have not shown a realistic likelihood that they were prejudiced by what was done, the shackles having been screened from view."). Id. at 1136. The court in Madsen noted that the appellant had not alleged or shown support in the record that the shackles were visible to the jury, and the record suggested "the opposite: an apron was placed in front of Madsen's table to prevent the jury from viewing his leg irons. Moreover, the trial judge indicated that they were not visible and allowed Madsen to be seated prior to the jury's entrance." Id. at 1137. Accordingly, the court found no inherent prejudice from the use of the shackles.