The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, April 14, 2004  

Courtroom Drama

From today’s Philadelphia Inquirer (“Defendant Shot in Courtroom Fracas,” by Thomas J. Gibbons Jr.):

A city deputy sheriff shot and critically wounded a defendant yesterday in the Criminal Justice Center after the man tried to attack the judge during a sentencing procedure.

Pandemonium broke out in Courtroom 1102 as Shawn Frazier, 24, of the 800 block of North Warnock Place in North Philadelphia, went after Common Pleas Court Judge Gary S. Glazer, who was escorted to a door by an aide.

During a struggle with Frazier, Deputy Sheriff Thomas E. Clark fired a shot from his Glock semiautomatic, hitting Frazier in the back. Frazier was taken by Fire Department paramedics to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he was admitted in critical but stable condition under heavy police guard. Glazer and Clark were not injured. […]

And the article gets still more interesting from there:

The shooting was the fourth security-related incident sparked by a defendant at the Criminal Justice Center since Feb. 3, when a prisoner attempted to escape through a ceiling above a holding room. […]

In the other security incidents, [Sheriff John D.] Green noted that during a murder trial in March, defendant Abdul Malik El-Shabazz jumped up and punched his public defender. Then, while a jury debated his murder sentence, El-Shabazz smuggled a knife, hidden in his rectum, into the Criminal Justice Center. A deputy sheriff found the weapon during a strip-search. [Emphasis added.]

What a town.

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