Jailers using hand-held metal detectors will screen all dangerous prisoners as they enter courthouses in Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles Times reports. Now most inmates are body-searched but are not required to pass metal detectors. The change comes after a gang member on trial for double murder slashed his attorney in the arm last week with a razor blade in a courtroom. “You learn from these kinds of incidents,” said Sheriff’s Chief Richard Martinez at a hearing on court security called by County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.
Deputies will also search courthouse lockups more thoroughly and on a daily basis, Martinez said. In the latest case, deputies had searched the defendant thoroughly. What they did not know was that he had hid the blade in the lockup just before deputies patted him down. “My somewhat cynical guess is, but for what happened in Atlanta, we wouldn’t have had that hearing today,” said David Carleton of the Alternate Public Defender’s Office. “Public defenders have been assaulted in courtrooms for 20 years.”