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Judge Orders Man’s Mouth Taped Shut

Posted Apr 22, 2009 1:32 PM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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There were apparently just one too many outbursts from Nicklas Frasure for a southeast Idaho judge to tolerate. So he ordered that Frasure, who has a history of mental illness, have his mouth sealed with duct tape during an evidentiary hearing Monday.

The unusual order came from 6th District Judge Peter D. McDermott during a probation violation hearing for the 23-year-old Frasure, according to the Idaho State Journal and the Associated Press.

Frasure, accused of violating probation for not taking his medication, was back in court after a felony theft conviction in 2008. The judge had retained jurisdiction over Frasure's case to see how he responded to mental health treatment. The reports say that Frasure was released from a state mental hospital in Blackfoot this past October.

On Monday, Frasure reportedly interrupted proceeded with "repeated verbal outbursts and unusual behavior," ignoring several orders from Judge McDermott to restrain himself.

That's when the judge ordered bailiff's to silence the man, which they did with a roll of duct tape.

"He's obviously not mentally competent," Frasure's lawyer Kent Reynolds reportedly told the judge. Reynolds had been asking for a mental competency evaluation.

An advocate for those suffering from mental illness in Idaho stopped short of criticizing Judge McDermott for ordering Frasure's mouth duct-taped.

Kenny Myers, president of the Southeast Idaho Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, told the State Journal that McDermott was thrust into the position of coping with a defendant's mental illness due to the lack of resources in Idaho.

"If this gentleman had some type of a stable housing situation where they made sure his medications were being taken and some sort of a stable environment, there's a good chance that this wouldn't have happened," Myers is quoted saying.

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