Trials & Litigation

Pro Se Defendant Feels Like Hannibal Lecter After He Is Strapped to Chair to Avoid Trial Walkout


A defendant who fired his lawyers and is defending himself on bank robbery charges is having a difficult time during his trial in Chicago federal court.

Defendant Jose Banks is accused in two bank robberies and two attempted bank robberies, the Chicago Tribune reports. As the prosecution presented its case this week, Banks repeatedly interrupted U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer to “object to everything,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports. At one point he interjected, “I so declare a mistrial.”

On Thursday, Banks objected to the prison jumpsuit he was wearing, though he had refused an offer to wear street clothes, and then tried to walk out of his trial, the Sun-Times says. Pallmeyer told Banks he couldn’t leave, since he was acting as his own lawyer. After removing jurors from the courtroom, Pallmeyer ordered marshals to strap the defendant into a belted wheelchair, the Tribune says. “Miss Rebecca, what’s going on?” Banks asked.

Banks was allowed out of the chair when he promised to behave, the stories say. Banks said the chair confinement made him “feel like Hannibal Lecter,” the fictional restrained killer in the movie Silence of the Lambs.

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