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Inmate Punches Lawyer In The Face During Court Hearing

A man already in jail on a burglary charge in Scott County now faces assault charges.

Court officials say Peter Hafer punched his attorney during a hearing in a Scott County courtroom.

Hafer asked Judge Rob Johnson for a new court-appointed attorney. Moments after the judge denied that request, Hafer got into a scuffle with his attorney.

Doug Crickmer, the attorney, had to go to the hospital but has since been released.

AP STORY

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (AP) - A prisoner punched his public defender in the jaw during a court hearing in which a judge refused to grant the man's request for a new attorney.

The wild scene happened Monday at Scott County Circuit Court and was captured on a security video.

Defendant Peter Hafer, 30, of Cynthiana told the judge he didn't trust his court-appointed lawyer, Doug Crickmer. As Crickmer began to tell the judge that Hafer couldn't choose his public defender, Hafer landed the first punch.

"I just couldn't take it anymore and I just snapped," Hafer said later at the Scott County jail.

Bailiff Jim Traylor said Hafer hit the attorney multiple times in the face and stomach. Hafer was restrained on the ground. Crickmer was admitted to Georgetown Community Hospital and released later that day.

Rodney Barnes, directing attorney for the Public Advocate Frankfort Trial office, said Crickmer suffered a cut on his cheek and a black eye.

Hafer, who was arrested in August on charges of burglarizing a K-Mart store in June, will likely face an assault charge, Traylor said.

During the court hearing, Hafer asked Judge Rob Johnson to delay his trial later this month so he could prepare a better defense.

"I'd rather have the prosecutor be my attorney than him," Hafer said during the hearing, referring to Crickmer. "He'd probably give me a better trial."

Shortly before he was punched, Crickmer said that "legally, what Mr. Hafer wants is not permissible or will not be allowed by the court."

As for his request for a new attorney, Hafer apparently will get his way. Barnes said a new one will be appointed.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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