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Angeles County | Official Business / Courts and Government

Defendant Shocked in Court Could Get Retrial

September 26, 1998

A defendant who endured a 50,000-volt jolt for interrupting a Long Beach judge was ordered to return to court Oct. 23 for a hearing to determine if he should receive a new trial.

The motion seeking a retrial for Ronnie Hawkins, 48, contends that he did not receive a fair trial the first time because he was acting as his own attorney, and therefore had inadequate representation.

Hawkins was convicted of stealing $265 worth of over-the-counter painkillers.

At his sentencing hearing June 30, Municipal Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani ordered a bailiff to activate a stun belt to stop Hawkins' repeated interruptions.

Hawkins twice had been removed for disrupting court proceedings during a three-strikes trial in April.

On Friday, Superior Court Judge Arthur Jean postponed a hearing on a new trial and berated defense lawyers for the late filing of a motion requesting it. Jean had set a deadline of Sept. 18 for the motion. He said he received it by fax on Thursday, nearly a week late.

If Jean rejects the motion after the Oct. 23 hearing, Hawkins faces a sentence of 25 years to life.

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