18:07 GMT22 October 2020
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    The judge in a potential death-penalty trial in East Texas ordered a shock belt be used on a defendant for refusing to stand up at his request, according to TV station KLTV.

    Prosecutors say James Calvert, 45, beat and fatally shot his ex-wife and kidnapped their 4-year-old son in 2012.

    The trial in Smith County is set to resume on Monday after being put on recess on Sep. 16, a day after the incident.  

    Judge Jack Skeen had ordered the shock belt to be placed on the defendant for security risks raised by Calvert’s unpredictable behavior. Kathryn Kase, executive director of the Texas 

    Defender Service, links that disruptive behavior to the defendant’s alleged mental illness.

    The judge allowed Calvert to represent himself at the outset of the trial in August.

    Legal experts now say Skeen could face sanctions for his use of the shock belt, which commonly is used during trials where a defendant poses an “immediate security risk,” according to Reuters. 

    Experts also point to possible appeals if Calvert is convicted.

    "I know of no death penalty trial in the state of Texas where the defendant has been able to represent himself who got life in prison,” Kase said.

    The judge has issued a gag order on the trial, according to court officials.

    Skeen’s record is free of sanctions, according to the Texas Bar Association.


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