Texas Prisoner Reportedly Shocked For Failing To Stand While Addressing Court

150927-james-calvert-jsw-_073fc1537d8d2a0b52aeaf9d4af664f2.nbcnews-ux-320-320I have long been a critic of the use of shock belts, particularly in courtrooms. Those concerns were magnified this week when Judge Jack Skeen or his deputies shocked criminal defendant James Calvert for failing to stand while addressing the court. Calvert had a long history of disrupting the court proceeding.

There is no question that Calvert was a handful in representing himself. However, to use these belts for behavior modification or punishment is deeply disturbing. He can be denied the right to represent himself. But shocked?

Calvert reportedly screamed for five minutes and Judge Jack Skeen ordered public defenders who had been monitoring the case to take over representation. He simply stated “I should have done this a lot sooner. I don’t have to take it. You’re out.” Well, I can understand the decision but not the means. He can be denied his right to self-representation if he refuses to comply with the rules. Yet, to hit him with a high voltage for showing disrespect, it raises serious question of judicial temperament, judgment, and proportionality.

Despite the prosecutors agreeing to suppress evidence of a search of Calvert’s mother’s home, Calvert tried to question a detective about the search. Calvert explained that “I just want the jury to know the truth.” Skeen responded with “What you can’t handle is the truth.”

Perhaps. That and high voltage shocks.

90 thoughts on “Texas Prisoner Reportedly Shocked For Failing To Stand While Addressing Court”

  1. The nasty day I had in court recently with the judge raking me over the coals, I’d have taken a hard electric shock over that any day. Judges will have their due, woe to those who disrespect them. Get in court often enough and you figure that out. Last time this fool plays the jack$$$

  2. Texas Prisoner Reportedly Shocked For Failing To Stand While Addressing Court

    Who are the barbarians?

    Pain compliance in this situation is torture.

  3. Darren Smith, I am less opposed to these belts, but I believe your criteria are reasonable. While I personally think there might be more circumstances that justify activating a belt, I could limit myself to your criteria. Being a dick isn’t a crime, and being a dick in court doesn’t help the defendant, so there’s less need to use the belt.

  4. Mr. Schulte,

    I thought Anglo-American law was derived from the people??

    You said it wasn’t “my law”… America is merely an extension of the Anglo dream… most of our bill of rights and Constitution comes from English law.

  5. Mr. Schulte,

    It is not a crime to wrongly sue for libel…..

    It was not then…. just following “the law”

    and just because you wrote a piece about Wilde does not mean you know anything about him… I thought you taught civics? Wilde was a libertarian socialist, he would’ve dismissed that!!!

    Hahahaha look at what y’all say about the founding fathers.

    1. chipkelly – Oscar Wilde sued the Marquis of Queensberry for libel and lost. Some much came out in the trial that the government decided to charge him with ‘gross indecency.’ Wilde lost two cases ending with a 2 year jail sentence.

      BTW, you have to stop reading Wikipedia, you only get part of the story.

  6. I do have an “appointment” today (the 30th). BarkinDog and his crew are arriving at the next door marina from their trip to Bermuda. He will be back on the Dogalogue Machine and hence this blog. I hope. I have been at the helm for a long time and am getting a lot of criticism. Maybe a male dog will get more respect. Auf vederzein.

  7. Female dogs are known to complain. Ok, known to Bitch. But my complaint here is that this use of torture devices in court is acceptable to so many of you. I want you to know that those electro vests are coming to a school near you.

  8. BD,

    We all read the whole thing in its entirety and to the last word.

    Thank you so much for the post; very enlightening.

    Don’t forget your appointment tomorrow, K?

  9. Tonight on Turner Classic Movie Channel the movie: Judgment At Nuremberg, is on at 3:45 a.m. Before that, the Diary of Anne Frank. It is all quite relevant to the Texas Judge who assaults and batters crazy criminal defendants in his courtroom with electric shock devices.

  10. Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
    Über alles in der Welt,
    Wenn es stets zu Schutz und Trutze
    Brüderlich zusammenhält.
    Von der Maas bis an die Memel,
    Von der Etsch bis an den Belt,
    |: Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
    Über alles in der Welt! 😐

    Germany, Germany above all things,
    Above everything in the world,
    when, for protection and defense,
    it always stands brotherly together .
    From the Meuse to the Memel,
    From the Adige to the Belt,
    |: Germany, Germany above all things,
    Above everything in the world! 😐

    Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
    Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang
    Sollen in der Welt behalten
    Ihren alten schönen Klang,
    Uns zu edler Tat begeistern
    Unser ganzes Leben lang.
    |: Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
    Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang! 😐

    German women, German loyalty,
    German wine and German song
    Shall retain in the world
    Their old beautiful chime
    And inspire us to noble deeds
    During all of our life.
    |: German women, German loyalty,
    German wine and German song! 😐

    Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
    Für das deutsche Vaterland!
    Danach lasst uns alle streben
    Brüderlich mit Herz und Hand!
    Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
    Sind des Glückes Unterpfand;
    |: Blüh’ im Glanze dieses Glückes,
    Blühe, deutsches Vaterland! 😐

    Unity and justice and freedom
    For the German fatherland!
    Let us all strive for this purpose
    Brotherly with heart and hand!
    Unity and justice and freedom
    Are the pledge of happiness;
    |: Bloom in the glow of happiness,
    Bloom, German fatherland! 😐

    Note: The last two lines, between the repeat signs of |: and :|, are repeated once when sung.
    Use before 1933

    The melody of the “Deutschlandlied” was originally written by Joseph Haydn in 1797 to provide music to the poem “Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser” (“God save Franz the Emperor”) by Lorenz Leopold Haschka. The song was a birthday anthem to Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor of the House of Habsburg, and was intended to rival in merit the British “God Save the King”.

    After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, “Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser” became the official anthem of the emperor of the Austrian Empire and the subsequent Austro-Hungarian Empire, until the end of the Austrian monarchy in 1918. The first line of the anthem changed with the name of each new emperor until 1918. Austrian monarchists continued to use this anthem after 1918 in the hope of restoring the monarchy. The adoption of the Austrian anthem’s melody by Germany in 1922 was not opposed by Austria.

    “Das Lied der Deutschen” was not played at an official ceremony until Germany and the United Kingdom had agreed on the Heligoland–Zanzibar Treaty in 1890, when it appeared only appropriate to sing it at the ceremony on the now officially German island of Heligoland. During the time of the German Empire it became one of the most widely known patriotic songs.

    The song became very popular after the 1914 Battle of Langemarck during World War I, when, supposedly, several German regiments, consisting mostly of students no older than 20, attacked the British lines singing the song, suffering heavy casualties. They are buried in the Langemark German war cemetery. The official report of the army embellished the event as one of young German soldiers heroically sacrificing their lives for the Fatherland. In reality the untrained troops were sent out to attack the British trenches and were mown down by machine guns and rifle fire. This report, also known as the “Langemarck Myth”, was printed on the first page in newspapers all over Germany. It is doubtful whether the soldiers would have sung the song in the first place: carrying heavy equipment, they might have found it difficult to run at high speed toward enemy lines while singing the slow song. Nonetheless, the story was widely repeated.[6]

    The melody used by the “Deutschlandlied” was still in use as the anthem of the Austrian Empire until the demise of the latter in 1918. On 11 August 1922, German President Friedrich Ebert, a Social Democrat, made the Deutschlandlied the official German national anthem. In 1919 the black, red, and gold tricolour, the colours of the 19th century liberal revolutionaries advocated by the political left and centre, was adopted (rather than the previous black, white, and red of Imperial Germany). Thus, in a political trade-off, the conservative right was granted a nationalistic anthem — though Ebert advocated using only the anthem’s third stanza (which was done after World War II).[5]
    Use during Nazi rule

    During the Nazi era, only the first stanza was used, followed by the SA song “Horst-Wessel-Lied”.[7] The anthem was played at occasions of great national significance such as the opening of the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin when Hitler and his entourage, along with Olympic officials, walked into the stadium amid a chorus of three thousand Germans singing “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles”. In this way, the first verse of the anthem became closely identified with the Nazi regime.[8]
    Use after World War II

    After the Second World War ended in 1945, singing “Das Lied der Deutschen” was banned along with symbols of Nazi Germany by the Allies.

    After its founding in 1949, West Germany did not have a national anthem for official events for some years despite the growing need for proper diplomatic procedures. Different musical compositions were discussed or used, such as the fourth movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which is a musical setting of Friedrich von Schiller’s poem “An die Freude” (“Ode To Joy”). Though the black, red and gold colours of the national flag had been incorporated into Article 22 of the (West) German constitution, a national anthem was not specified. On 29 April 1952, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer asked President Theodor Heuss in a letter to accept “Das Lied der Deutschen” as the national anthem, with only the third stanza being sung on official occasions. President Heuss agreed to this on 2 May 1952. This exchange of letters was published in the Bulletin of the Federal Government. Since it was viewed as the traditional right of the President as head of state to set the symbols of the state, the “Deutschlandlied” thus became the national anthem.[9]

    Meanwhile, East Germany adopted its own national anthem, “Auferstanden aus Ruinen” (“Risen from Ruins”). As the lyrics of this anthem called for “Germany, united Fatherland”, they were no longer officially used after the DDR abandoned its goal of uniting Germany under Communism. (With slight adaptions, the lyrics of “Auferstanden aus Ruinen” can be sung to the melody of the “Deutschlandlied” and vice versa.)

    When West Germany won the 1954 FIFA World Cup Final in Bern, Switzerland, the lyrics of the first stanza dominated when the crowd sang along[citation needed] to celebrate the surprise victory that was later dubbed Miracle of Bern. The anthem had not been widely used then, and older people simply sang the first stanza which they knew from earlier times.[citation needed]

    In the 1970s and ’80s, efforts were made by conservatives in Germany to reclaim all three stanzas for the anthem. The Christian Democratic Union of Baden-Württemberg, for instance, attempted twice (in 1985 and 1986) to require German high school students to study all three stanzas, and in 1989 CDU politician Christian Wagner decreed that all high school students in Hesse were to memorise the three stanzas.[10]

    On 7 March 1990, months before reunification, the Constitutional Court declared only the third stanza of Hoffmann’s poem to be legally protected as a national anthem under German law; Section 90a of the Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch) makes defamation of the national anthem a crime — but does not specify what the national anthem is.[11]

    In November 1991, President Richard von Weizsäcker and Chancellor Helmut Kohl agreed in an exchange of letters to declare the third stanza alone be the national anthem of the enlarged republic.[12] On official occasions, Haydn’s music is used, and only the third stanza is sung.
    The word “FREIHEIT” (freedom) on Germany’s 2-Euro coin

    The opening line of the third stanza, “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit” (“Unity and Justice and Freedom”), is widely considered to be the national motto of Germany, although it was never officially proclaimed as such. It appears on Bundeswehr soldiers’ belt buckles (replacing the earlier “Gott mit uns” (“God with Us”) of the Imperial German Army and the Nazi-era Wehrmacht). “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit” appeared on the rim of 2- and 5-Deutsche Mark coins, and is present on 2-Euro coins minted in Germany.

  11. There is a documentary movie about Germany in 1933 on TCM right now. I can see the mentality of the Judge in this case in the faces of the Germans who backed the Nazi Party and Hitler.

    Another issue. Many of you folks point out that the defendant here might be insane and needs to be dealt with so that court can proceed. It is sort of said in the article that he is in a jury trial.
    There is a provision in every state and in the federal courts to not have a trial when some person is not competent to stand trial. Can we discuss that issue?

    To assault and batter at crazy person with a lethal weapon in open court in front of a jury is the height of human rights violation. Jeso. You humans on the blog here are missing something. I must say: Sieg Heil.

  12. Paul

    What you meant to say, I believe, is the ‘study of the tabloids’. This cr*p is not remotely associated with civics. Yes, I am not well read regarding tabloids.

  13. I think that since we on this blog all know about this assault and battery with a lethal weapon committed by a state actor (Judge in this case) upon a citizen (this was not Gitmo) that we have a duty to report this to the Attorney General of the U.S.

    German citizens who held their knowledge, held their understanding of the atrocities of the Third Reich were later criticized by American for being inhuman.

    Since I am a dog they wont listen to my bark. But the rest of you have a duty to complain to the U.S. Attorney General– tonight.

  14. Richard, You have experienced the ying/yang in providing info to fellow commenters. I have known DBQ for some time and she is one of the best. Unfortunately, you experienced one of the worst the other day regarding guardian ad litem cases. I’m heartened to see you are still being gracious w/ your expertise.

  15. steve, As you know, when I’m in court it is as a witness. I have testified in front of ~75 or so judges in probably 40-50 venues covering 5 states. I’m not counting ALJ’s. Generally, the most demanding, in my experience are Federal judges. I testified in front of a couple Federal judges in Chicago back in the 80’s, and they ran a tight ship. Not as tight as Julius Hoffman, no one was bound and gagged, LOL. Of course, judges are almost always gracious w/ witnesses, but I see how they treat attorneys, and attorneys love to vent to me about judges. The judges here in the People’s Republic of Madison are pretty easy going for the most part. My first experiences in court goes back to the 1970’s in Kansas City. It was pretty formal. I imagine it’s probably pretty laid back in SoCal. I actually got summoned for jury duty in San Diego County 2 years ago. It was for June, which is when I’m back here in WI. I would have flown out there if needed, however, I had just served jury duty 9 months prior here in WI. The Clerk in San Diego excused me when I provided that verified service. I have seen judges not unlike the judge in My Cousin Vinny.

  16. Where is the Department of Justice? They go to Ferguson over the fleeing felon case. It is much easier to go to this court and watch the assault and batteries. This was in Texas. So many cases on the blog come out of Florida and Texas.

  17. “Max-1
    Why can’t we apply that shock belt to the Judge?”

    I really think you’re on to something here.

    Instead of bringing to bear against the Extreme Court

    Article 2, Section 4, U.S. Constitution,

    “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on
    Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High crimes and Misdemeanors,”

    for cavalierly, nefariously and egregiously commingling the definitions of “state” and “federal” as pertains to

    its erroneous, subjective and ideological decision to uphold the ACA,

    we could apply shock belts, triggered by lie detectors, to the Justices.

    Whatever action results, the impunity of the SCOTUS has got to end.

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