CLEVELAND - "Mr. Castro" was heard repeatedly Wednesday, Judge Pamela Barker correcting kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro's demeanor in court. "Would you please look at me sir? Mr. Castro. Could you – I need to make sure you understand what I'm saying," said the judge.
Wednesday was the first time any judge demanded Ariel Castro not hang is head down and close his eyes, the same pose he's displayed during previous court appearances.
Why now and what does it matter?
This is something NewsChannel5 discussed with both a Chardon attorney and local judge.
East Cleveland's Municipal Judge, William Dawson weighed in saying, "You run courtroom according to your personality. Now none of us are going to stand for disrespect, but we're definitely going to run it to our personalities. So today, uh for her to demand that he listen was important for the beginning, so at least he's able to establish that he knows where he is and what's going on."
What went on Wednesday: Judge Barker arraigned Ariel Castro on nearly 1,000 charges. The new charges include the last several years of captivity, rape, kidnapping and two counts of aggravated murder. But also different this time around, says Defense Attorney Ian Friedman, is the status of Castro's mental capacity.
Friedman told NewsChannel5 with Castro's first arraignment, "That was prior to the competency evaluation so his mental health was still in question. His competency evaluation has since come back. He's deemed competent. Everyone has since stipulated to it, so now his actions, it's no longer a question anymore."
Friedman said Wednesday was not about behavior but instead, "She was making sure that he understood and was acknowledging everything that was going on. She was not going to allow him to come back years later and say, ‘Well I didn't understand what was going on at the arraignment. "
Judge Dawson said, "Even if you are accused of these crimes, you want to be there so you know what's going on and she could have him removed so it is important to comply with what the judge is asking you to do."
Wednesday you could hear Castro's attorneys encouraging Castro to obey the judge telling him to look up and even saying please so he could do so.
"Everything that's done in a courtroom has an impact on a jury. I spent many years as a defense attorney and I know for a fact that the jury is watching," said Dawson.
NewsChannel5's cameras watched Castro looking forward when he thought no one could see him.
Castro is due back in court July 24 for a pre-trial hearing. Bond was set for $8 million. The trial is scheduled for August 5 unless a plea agreement is made.