"Personally, I felt like he didn't need to be there for the sentencing, but we had received a written order for the judge to make sure he was there," Montezuma County Sheriff Gerald Wallace said on Thursday by phone.
So Wallace had his extraction team forcibly remove Rael, a convicted murderer, from a jail cell. The videotape of the February incident was first obtained by Law Week Colorado this week.
Officers stormed the cell quickly. They had to use a Taser on Rael twice. Wallace says Rael refused to show his hands when his officers ordered him to do so and that is why they used a Taser. Eventually, they subdued Rael, tied his hands and legs, and then placed him in a restraining chair. Rael was wheeled into the Cortez courtroom in that chair. (Click here to view the entire video.)
The photographer paused long enough to record video of excrement on the walls and Rael's stopped up toilet.
"He was a violent inmate, there's no question about it," Wallace said.
"They had to follow the judge's orders and that's what they did," Law Week reporter Alicia McNally said.
Judge Douglas Walker was the one responsible for that order. Because the case is being appealed, he was not made available for this story, but his order was relatively clear.
"The Defendant is ordered to appear for sentencing and the Sheriff of Montezuma County is ordered to use all reasonable and necessary force to transport the defendant to Court for sentencing," he wrote in an order dated February 11.
Wallace said he tried a number of times to convince Rael to go to the hearing without force.
"I don't feel like he felt it was going to go his way," Wallace said.
"Can a judge do this?" Matt Masich asked another reporter with Law Week. "We looked into it - they can - ultimately it's the judge's prerogative."
Rael was ultimately sentenced to 48 years, the maximum he faced for killing his ex-girlfriend in 2008.
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