SANTA ANA (CBSLA/AP) — An Orange County judge has ruled that jail inmates will no longer be chained around the waist inside county courthouses.
Superior Court Judge Kathleen Roberts ruled Monday that the order could end a policy by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to fit all inmates going to court with waist chains, according to the Orange County Register.
Defense attorneys say the practice is inhumane, while attorneys for the Sheriff’s Department argue that the chains ensure the safety of inmates, court staff and the public.
Attorneys say the holding tanks are also under the sheriff’s domain citing judicial overreach and failure to take safety into account.
County Deputy Public Defender Sara Ross raised questions about the constitutionality of using so-called belly chains on a blanket basis rather than case by case, similar to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department policy.
Roberts says she delayed her order until Nov. 22 to give the department the opportunity to seek an appeal.
Department officials say they expect to appeal the ruling.
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