Deck v. Missouri

Amicus curiae brief of the Bar Human Rights Committee of the Bar of England and Wales and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


Deck v. Missouri

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 04-5293


Forcing a defendant to proceed through the penalty phase of his capital murder trial while shackled and handcuffed to a belly chain in full view of the jury violates the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth Amendments; common law, international law and convention require that all defendants be treated with a dignity that is commensurate with the presumption of innocence during trial and axiomatically during their penalty trials before the jury in a capital case; since a number of states count “future dangerousness” as an aggravating factor in capital cases, chaining up a defendant during his penalty trial effectively compels him to be a witness against himself in violation of the Fifth Amendment’s self-incrimination and due process clauses and denies him the opportunity to confront himself as a witness against himself in violation of the Sixth Amendment’s confrontation clause.

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