State v. Rickett, 2016 MT 168 (July 12, 2016) (Shea, J.) (5-0, aff’d)
Issue: Whether the district court abused its discretion by requiring Rickett to wear a leg brace during trial.
Short Answer: Yes, but it was not a structural error, and there was no reasonable possibility the defendant was prejudiced.
Facts: In July 2012 the state charged Rickett with aggravated kidnapping, burglary, intimidation, and escape based on its contention that he escaped a pre-release center, and kidnapped his former foster mother to gain access to the safe at a Bozeman restaurant where she worked as a bookkeeper.
The district court held a trial over three days in February 2014. Rickett appeared in person wearing street clothes with a leg brace on his right leg underneath his pants.…