(WOMENSENEWS)–A Michigan woman who complained that her husband violated a protective order against her was ordered to be handcuffed to him by the judge who is handling the couple’s divorce.
When Sabrena and Kirk Smith’s stories contradicted each other during a Jan. 25 hearing, Muskegon County Judge Gregory Pittman ordered them to be shackled to a holding cell bench “until somebody decides that they’re going to not lie to the court,” The Associated Press reported.
The two weren’t released until Sabrena Smith dropped her complaint. Sabrena Smith said she had been telling the truth and only withdrew to be released from jail.
Her attorney, Jenny McNeill, said she “didn’t see any other way to get her out of there.”
The judge said he was sure neither spouse posed a threat to the other or he wouldn’t have issued the order.
“In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t do it again,” Pittman said, “but in no way would I ever put a person who has been assaulted in that situation.”
Sabrena Smith plans to file a grievance against Pittman and seek a new judge. She added said she didn’t feel endangered while she was cuffed to her husband, “just angry.”
Kirk Smith’s lawyer, Harold Closz, said the judge’s handcuffing order was “unusual,” but not necessarily inappropriate.