Judges: Courthouse chaos symptom of security problems

Bartholomew County judges were already scheduled to register their concerns about courthouse security to the County Council last night. But a wild chase and brawl in the courthouse yesterday further emphasized their points.

The county’s three judges appeared at a council work session last night to ask for more courthouse security officers. But Judge Jon Rohde first brought up yesterday’s incident where an angry criminal defendant fled the courtroom after being sentenced. He was tased several times and tackled, eventually only being taken back into custody with the assistance of Judge Jim Worton and a civilian office worker. The judges described Worton and officers wrestling to restrain the man in the hallways of the courthouse, near where families gather for court hearings. The office worker actually was the first to get a handcuff on the fugitive’s wrist, judges said.

Judges highlighted other threats to court security, including personal threats to judges and their family members and out of control people damaging courtrooms and equipment.

The judges would like to add three more security officers and a lieutenant to supervise the court security detail at an estimated annual cost of more than $400,000. The council will consider the request at its July meeting.

The judges did not identify the defendant involved in the melee