Emotions often run high in the courtroom - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Emotions often run high in the courtroom

By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –An outburst in a Columbus courtroom gave us all an up-close look at the raw emotions of victims of crime. Deputies had to restrain a man who lunged at his sister's accused killer.

It's a scene that could play out in any courtroom. Fortunately, an outburst similar to the one in Columbus has not happened in Dougherty County but officers still deal with their fair share of emotional outbursts. Those outbursts can happen at any time but officers always have to be prepared to act.

This surprising outburst happened in Columbus when a murder victim's brother attacked her accused killer. Deputies had to restrain the man who was overcome with emotion.

Emotions often run high in the courtroom, Tonya Hall sees it first hand working closely with victims. "It is scary in a sense but its also sad, because I'm just wondering what's going to happen to this guy..is he going to go to jail?" she said.

She also sees how difficult it can be for family members to face the accused, "We sit there and try to comfort them," said Hall. 

But she warns them of what cam happen if they choose to act out in the courtroom. "They can be removed from the court room," she said.

Hall works closely with courtroom security to help prepare officers for potential outbursts. "It looks to me like he just sat there and took as much as he could take, and he just lost it," said Lt. Dewayne Lodge.

Lieutenant Dewayne Lodge has worked security in the courtroom for 10 years, and seen his fair share of emotional outbursts. "I think the general public would be shocked to know how much we deal with in a courtroom setting," said Lodge.

He and head Bailiff Walter Jinks deal with problems weekly,"Juvenile court has begun to become a big problem, juveniles have to be removed forcefully quite a bit now," said Lodge.

It's not only major trials, emotions can also take over during minor hearings too."Divorce proceedings are the worst and when children are involved," said Sheriff Kevin Sproul.

"That is where we have a lot of our outbursts, in domestic violence trials," said Lodge.

Fortunately, Dougherty County has security measures in place to prevent such incidents. "Security measures actually start before they get into the courtroom," said the Sheriff.

By monitoring every individual that walks into the court room, they are prepared to handle an emotional situation.

After you go through the metal detector, sometimes officers scan again before you enter the courtroom. In addition to bailiffs, and deputies sometimes officers wearing plain clothing are sitting near the family members for extra protection.

One of the most emotional moments in a trial is when a verdict is read..so often times extra officers are brought in for that moment.

Officers say the judge is the first person to be removed from the courtroom is something were to occur.

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