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Court: Waterbury man’s right to fair trial not violated by shackling in front of jury

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HARTFORD — The Connecticut Supreme Court has upheld the burglary and assault convictions of a man who claimed he was denied a fair trial because the judge ordered him to remain shackled.

Justices released a 7-0 ruling Monday rejecting Michael Brawley’s appeal.

The court said the judge should not have ordered the former Waterbury man to remain shackled during trial, but there was no evidence jurors ever saw the shackles. The judge told the Supreme Court that he could not recall with certainty but believed Brawley only wore leg shackles that weren’t visible to the jury.

Federal and Connecticut court rulings say defendants generally have a right to appear in court free of restraints because it may prejudice the jury.

Brawley is serving a 30-year sentence for a 2008 Naugatuck home invasion.