Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Local Courts Would Adopt Rules for Juvenile Shackling Under Proposed Statewide Rule

A proposed amendment to the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio would mandate that local courts adopt local rules to better regulate shackling of youths during court proceedings. The Ohio Supreme Court requests public comment on Sup. R. 5.01.

After meeting with concerned parties about this issue in August, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor directed a subset of the Advisory Committee on Children & Families to examine the issue. Along with the proposed rule, the group researched how other states have addressed the issue and conducted a survey of Ohio juvenile court judges that found a majority of respondents always or frequently restrain juveniles during court proceedings. The shackling of juveniles has gained increasing national attention and has raised concerns about its usage.

Under proposed Sup. R. 5.01, local restraint rules would create a presumption against shackling. However, local courts can restrain juveniles on a case-by-case basis if a judge finds on the record it is necessary because the juvenile’s behavior is a threat or the juvenile is at risk of fleeing. The judge must also find that restraint is necessary because no less restrictive alternatives exist.

The Chief Justice will also work with the Ohio Judicial College to embed within the training it offers to juvenile court judges, magistrates, and probation officers research findings that indicate that restraining juveniles during court proceedings may exacerbate the trauma they experience in some circumstances.

View the text of the proposed amendments.

Comments should be submitted by Jan. 7, 2016 in writing to:

Stephanie Nelson, Manager, Children & Families Section
65 South Front Street, Sixth Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

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