Court Upholds Conviction of Man Shackled During Jackson County Trial

MARCH 22, 2006 - Posted at 4:44 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - In a ruling today, the Arkansas Court of Appeals upheld the attempted murder conviction of a Jackson County man who said he shouldn't have been shackled with leg chains during his trial.

Judges in a split decision upheld the convictions of Ricky Glenn Steward, who is serving 25 years in prison for one count of attempted second-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault.

Court records show Steward was accused of shooting at Jackson County Sheriff's officers responding to a domestic disturbance call on June 1, 2003, and wounding deputy Toni Moss.  Moss survived.

In his appeal, Steward argued that the court should not have allowed him to be restrained during his trial and that his trial should have been suspended to determine his mental capacity.

Judge Robert J. Gladwin wrote in the court's opinion that the restraints were needed because police testified that it took several officers to remove Steward from his vehicle when he was arrested and that it was not easy to subdue him even with the use of chemical mace.

The Appeals Court also ruled that Steward's trial had previously been suspended so he could be evaluated for his mental fitness.

Judge John B. Robbins wrote in a dissenting opinion that another evaluation was needed because of the length of time between the mental evaluation and the trial.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)