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Tenth Circuit Upholds Use of Stun Belt on Defendant

On September 22, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed the conviction and sentence of a man accused of retaliating against a federal witness. In upholding the conviction and sentence, the court rejected a challenge to the district court’s requirement that the defendant wear a stun belt.

Wendell Wardell was convicted of conspiring to retaliate against a federal witness and retaliating against a federal witness after he, along with his co-defendant in a tax fraud case, arranged the assault of witness Jessie Cluff.

During the trial in the matter, the district court required Wardell to wear a stun belt. Wardell and his co-conspirators were convicted. Wardell was sentenced to 115 months to be served consecutively to his sentence in his tax fraud case.

Wardell argued in his appeal that the district court erred in requiring him to wear a stun belt. The appeals court disagreed. “The district court appropriately justified the measure through the articulation of defendant-specific security concerns,” the court wrote.

See: United States v. Wardell, No. 06-1108 (10th Cir. 2009).

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Related legal case

United States v. Wardell