Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Client in Court Makes a Run For It - What Would You Do?

From our friends over at Arbitrary & Capricious:

"From the Spokesman-Review:

Municipal court brawl leads to arrest

A brawl that began when a man tried fleeing a courtroom this morning ended with the man, a deputy and three attorneys falling onto a bench of bystanders, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Micah W. Hasselstrom, 34, ran when Spokane Municipal Court Judge Tracy Staab ordered him jailed with increased bail after he said he didn’t plan on appearing in court again, a news release said.

Hasselstrom’s public defender, Tony Tompkins, grabbed his leg to hold him in place as Deputy John Pederson tried handcuffing him, and a struggle ensued... Public defenders Francis Adewale and Andy Hess joined the struggle, and the group fell onto the bench, knocking a 68-year-old woman to the floor...

There's a lively discussion taking place in the Washington criminal defense bar over the lawyers' actions in essentially effecting an arrest, roughly dividing into "respect the client - let him be free to make his own mistakes" and "protect the client - let him be free at least from a new felony escape charge." Myself, I think I'd go hands-off, but not having been in a moment like that, I'm hard-pressed to second-guess. "

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