Stun Belt Used on Defendant
Re “Stun Belt Used for First Time on Defendant in L.A. Court,” July 9: Clearly the courts recognize the public’s ability to identify these horrific things for the torture devices they are. Otherwise a defendant would not be required to wear it underneath his clothing.
No judge in this country should have the authority to activate one of these monstrosities without first being required to take a personal test ride with one of them. When Municipal Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani’s turn comes along, I’m sure there’s a guy named Ronnie Hawkins who’d love to get his hands on that remote control.
The use of an electrical shock by one person against another is the use of deadly force, a felony offense unless permitted by law. Deadly force was not permitted by law in this instance. A deputy sheriff would be authorized to use the stun belt in self-defense or in defense of others. He would be authorized to use the stun belt when reasonably necessary to effect an arrest or to prevent escape or to overcome physical resistance. However, he would never be justified in using deadly force to silence dissent or speech. The judge had zero authority to use deadly force and zero authority to direct the deputy to use deadly force and the deputy had zero authority to follow the judge’s unlawful order. The judge and the deputy are guilty of felony crimes.
There were many alternatives. The judge had contempt power and authority to remove the offender from the courtroom and thereby eliminate the offensive behavior.
But what is the penalty for the misconduct by the authorities in this case? In similar cases the answer is typically none. Typically the law does not apply to those in power, but only to the powerless.
GENE HAYS (Ret. Lieutenant)
L.A. County Sheriff’s Department
What next--summary executions for chewing gum? I am embarrassed to be an American when I read stories of “legally sanctioned torture” in the name of prisoner control. Amnesty International should have a field day with this one. I bet they don’t even use such devices in Iran! Shame on Judge Comparet-Cassani!