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Massachusetts Criminal Procedure Rule 45: Removal of the Disruptive Defendant

(Applicable to District Court and Superior Court)

[Disclaimer]

(a) Removal of Defendant. Upon the direction of the trial judge, a defendant may be removed from the courtroom during his trial when his conduct has become so disruptive that the trial cannot proceed in an orderly manner. Gagging or shackling may be employed if the trial judge has found such restraint reasonably necessary to maintain order. If the trial judge orders such restraint, he shall enter into the record of the case the reasons therefor. Whenever physical restraint of a defendant or witness occurs in the presence of the jury trying the case, or whenever the defendant is removed, the judge, at the request of the defendant, shall instruct the jury that such restraint or removal is not to be considered in assessing the proof and determining guilt.

(b) Defendant's Rights After Removal. A defendant once removed shall be required to be present in the court building while the trial is in progress. At the time of his removal he shall be advised that he has the right to be returned to the courtroom upon his request and assurances of good behavior. Notwithstanding the failure of a defendant to request to be returned to the courtroom, he shall be returned to the courtroom at appropriate intervals in the absence of the jury, and shall be advised in open court that he will be permitted to remain upon the giving of assurances of good behavior.