Washington state judge chases, catches criminal defendants who try to flee his courtroom

A remarkable story from Chehalis, Washington. Judge R.W. Buzzard was completing a criminal hearing when two defendants–handcuffed and wearing prison garb–decided to turn and flee the courtroom. They ran down a stairwell and attempted to escape the building. Courtroom video shows Judge Buzzard leap from the bench, pull off his robe, and give chase. Near the bottom of the stairwell, he apprehends one of the defendants (the other was caught a few blocks away).

The courthouse video is here.

The incident raises obvious questions about courthouse security:

“These things don’t happen very often,” said Sheriff Rob Snaza. “They’re few and far between.”

Snaza said this represents the second such incident within the last couple of years, that he’s aware of. There are monthly meetings to discuss courthouse security issues.

During this incident, Snaza said, security measures and quick communication made deputies aware of the incident quickly. The only deputy in the room did not give chase because he had two other inmates in his care, said Snaza.

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