Sheriff: Defendants to be handcuffed after public defender punched in the head

After a public defender was punched in the head during a closed circuit hearing from a jailhouse courtroom, Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said that that all inmates will be handcuffed during their first-appearance hearings.

Tony indicated that security at magistrate hearings was “lax” because the Broward Public Defender’s Office had a longstanding position that handcuffs or shackles could suggest that defendant was guilty.

The change in procedures, announced late Wednesday, came after Assistant Public Defender Julie Chase was punched in the head from behind by an inmate during a morning hearing for another person.

Chase was taken to Broward Health Medical Center by ambulance but was discharged before noon.

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