June 17, 2009

Spokane lawyers mix it up with defendant

Three public defenders wound up wrestling with a defendant who tried to storm out of a courtroom in Spokane, Wash., sheriff's deputies said.

Micha Hasselstrom, 34, Spokane, had to be subdued by a trio of lawyers and a courtroom deputy, all of whom fell on top of a stunned 68-year-old woman who was in the courtroom for another matter.

Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan said Hasselstrom was appearing on charges he violated a court no-contact order Wednesday when he began arguing with Spokane County Municipal Court Judge Tracy Staab. When the judge ordered Hasselstrom into custody, he allegedly headed for the door with his public defender, Tony Tompkins holding on to his leg.

While Deputy John Pederson tried to cuff the struggling defendant, two more public defenders who were in the courtroom jumped into help.

The entire group ended falling onto a bench of uninvolved people in court for other matters, Reagan reported. A 68-year-old woman was knocked to the floor and partially buried beneath the struggling suspect, officer and attorneys.

No one was hurt and Hasselstrom now faces charges of assault and attempted escape.