A new trial has been ordered for an inmate who was convicted of assaulting an Iowa prison guard. Earl Griffin admitted he punched a correctional officer several times while he was being held at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Oakdale on November 15, 2009.
The prison guard was eventually able to subdue Griffin but suffered cuts to the face and other injuries. At trial, Griffin claimed a “necessity defense,” saying he needed to appear tough among other inmates. A Johnson County jury found Griffin guilty of assault on correctional staff causing injury.
He appealed the ruling by arguing the court erred in requiring him to wear leg shackles during the trial. Griffin’s defense lawyers had argued the chains would be unfairly prejudicial before the jury.
The Court of Appeals agreed that the district court judge “failed to make specific findings to justify the use of restraints” during the trial. The appeals court reversed the judgment against Griffin and ordered a new trial.
See the complete ruling here: Griffin ruling PDF