Local News

Weighty Issue Faces Durham Defendant

Posted June 9, 1999

— Defense attorneys are known for trying to find ways to delay trials. Sometimes they want more time with their client or a better look at the evidence. But a delay in a Durham trial gives a whole new meaning to tipping the scales of justice.

Jailers say Wade Remington is 5'8" and 250 pounds. As his drug trafficking trial neared, his public defender took Remington to the clothes closet at the Durham County Courthouse. That is where the weighty legal problem started -- there were no clothes to fit the defendant.

A judge postponed Remington's trial saying state law does not allow inmates to be tried in their prison uniforms.

"When someone is being tried for an offense they believe they're not guilty of, they have a right to be perceived as a well-dressed individual so they can make a good first impression," says Shannon Tucker, assistant public defender.

The Durham County Sheriff's Department says it is not the county's fault that the scales of justice are out of balance in this case.

A spokesperson says all inmates are on a controlled diet that limits them to 3,000 calories a day.

"He came into our facility at 250 pounds and he was transfered out to Onslow County and we got him back here February 1 and he wasn't any slimmer when he came in then when he went out," says Capt. Ricky Buchanan of the Durham County Sheriff's Department.

As the overweight defendant's case sits in legal limbo, many may wonder if taxpayers will have to foot the bill for clothes to fit Remington. The public defender says no.

"We'll be continuing to look through the thrift shops, the Salvation Army," says Tucker. "Or if any of your viewers might have a size 46 suit they'd like to donate in the interest of justice, we'd be more than happy to accept a donation for Mr. Remington's suit."

WRAL asked to speak with Remington, who did not want to talk about his situation. Right now, no trial date is set. They are just waiting for a size 46 suit, or for Remington to lose a little weight.


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