Preventable Courtroom Carnage

March 14, 2005 11:21 a.m.

I got this e-mail from FOX viewer and reader Bill Merritt from Jackson, Mississippi. I thought it would be valuable to reprint it, not as criticism for the way authorities handled the transfer of the prisoner in the recent Atlanta shootings, but because it seems to me a very plausible method of preventing similar incidents in the future.

As always, your comments are welcome.

All the best,
Rick Leventhal

Bill Merritt writes:

After witnessing the events in Atlanta Friday, I think I have a way to not only control a prisoner, but maintain the ‘appearance of innocence’ as called for by the courts — not having a defendant in shackles while sitting before a jury during trial.

My idea would be to have a TASER belt built with the controls, battery supply and contacts all fitted behind the back of the prisoner to prevent tampering. The TASER belt would be controlled by a ‘trigger device’ (a device triggered by a coded frequency, like garage openers, to allow multiple belts to be used within a controlled environment like a courthouse). The trigger device would be given to the officer responsible for the transport and escort of the prisoner once they leave the jail cell.

The TASER belt would be placed on the prisoner before they leave. They would always be under control, regardless of where they go and even if they are allowed to change clothes in a courthouse holding cell, as many do when going to trial.

By having ‘non-lethal control’ over prisoners, the number and availability of guns could be limited to access points of the courthouse. Prisoners would not be able to easily gain control of a firearm and kill others around them. A deputy with a trigger device could ‘TASE’ a prisoner if they become uncontrollable.

E-mail Rick!

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