Death Penalty

Murder trial to resume after shock is administered to defendant for failing to stand

  • Print.

The trial of a Texas man accused of killing his former wife resumes this week after he was shocked for failing to stand when talking to the judge.

The defendant, James Calvert, will no longer represent himself when the capital murder trial resumes in Smith County, report Reuters and KLTV, which had a reporter in the courtroom during the incident. Calvert screamed for about five seconds after he was shocked with the special belt he was wearing.

KLTV reports that a deputy administered the shock to Calvert, while Reuters suggests it was the judge who issued the shock. The incident occurred on Sept. 15.

Judge Jack Skeen ordered public defenders who had been monitoring the case to take over representation. “I should have done this a lot sooner,” Skeen said. “I don’t have to take it. You’re out.”

Earlier in the day, Calvert had objected to the use of a new court reporter and claimed some court reports are under investigation. He also asserted that police records aren’t allowed in evidence, and claimed a police log was “untruthful” and “biased,” according to the KLTV report.

He also questioned a detective about warrants for a search of his mother’s home, though the state had agreed to suppress the evidence, according to the KLTV account.

“I just want the jury to know the truth,” Calvert said.

“What you can’t handle is the truth,” Skeen replied.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.