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'Hit him': Texas judge used electric shocks to punish sex offender, who now gets new trial

Jeff Caplan and Mitch Mitchell, Fort Worth Star-Telegram on

Published in News & Features

Morris had filed a lawsuit against Ray and wanted him to be recused as his attorney.

"Morris appeared to hate me but I think really he hated the situation more," Ray said. "But you can't leave a defendant just because you believe he hates you, that's not the way it works. I was his second or third lawyer."

Gallagher ordered a bailiff to administer the electric shocks on the first day of his trial. When Gallagher asked Morris for his plea, guilty or not guilty. Morris refused to answer the question.

"Sir, before I say that, I have the right to make a defense," Morris responded, according to the appeals court.

Morris told the judge he had a pending lawsuit against his defense attorney.

Gallagher became irritated and warned Morris about further "outbursts."

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"Mr. Morris, I am giving you one warning," Gallagher said outside the presence of the jury, according to the appeals court. "You will not make any additional outbursts like that, because two things will happen: No. 1, I will either remove you from the courtroom or I will use the shock belt on you."

Morris answered, "All right, sir."

When Morris continued to talk, Gallagher instructed the bailiff to activate the stun belts around Morris' legs.

Gallagher asked Morris twice more if he was going to follow the rules. When Morris did not provide a plea, Gallagher said to the bailiff, "Hit him," according to the appeals court ruling.


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