Officials review security after courthouse assault - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Officials review security after courthouse assault

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Just three days after Dubuque County Attorney Ralph Potter was assaulted outside a Dubuque County courtroom. Monday officials were looking at how this could have been prevented.

Friday afternoon, after being convicted of second degree murder, deputies handcuffed Michael Mayton and escorted him out of the courtroom. That's when he assaulted Dubuque County attorney Ralph Potter.

"It was just kind of a perfect storm, so to speak, in how it just kinda came together and the events that took place," Jail Administrator Captain Greg Egan said.

In this case, after the jury left the room Potter hugged David Tate's family and walked out into the hallway -- before Mayton.

"We have to share a lot of common areas moving inmates into the courthouse and out of the courthouse," Egan said.

Egan says the problem starts at the Dubuque County Jail. Transporting inmates here in Dubuque County can be rather difficult. That's because they must first be escorted across a busy street and into a more than century old courthouse.  That's where security becomes even more difficult. The three level courthouse was not designed with security in mind.

"When we have inmates, once they're out of the jail they're obviously in a less secure environment, and our goal is to get them back into a secure environment as soon as possible," Egan said.

But how they take them back to the jail is up to each individual officer. It all depends on the courtroom make up, past deals with the inmate and any potential threat.

"There's a certain level of discretion that goes with that. We're very cognizant of the courtroom, courthouse security, and we try to do our best to maintain that security," Egan said.

Now officials are rethinking their courtroom plans, hoping to prevent Friday's incident from ever happening again.

"We're gonna be looking at things to see what things we can change, what things can do differently in the future," Egan said.

No additional charges have been filed against Mayton. The Iowa Attorney General's office will handle the prosecution for Potters assault. A spokeswoman for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says charges will likely be filed later this week.

Mayton already faces up to 50 years in prison.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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