A Lincoln County Jail inmate tried to grab a Newport Police Department officer’s service weapon in the courtroom toward the end of his trial Wednesday on nine robbery-related charges.
As the trial was wrapping up and the last witness testified, the defendant, Scott Patrick Lemmon, 27, of Newport, attempted to seize Officer Jon Humphrey’s pistol in the Lincoln County Courthouse.
Lemmon was facing charges of Robbery II, Burglary I, Theft II, two counts of Menacing and four counts of Coercion. He was convicted on all charges and placed in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections.
Deputies said they had been watching Lemmon throughout the trial and believed he was paying too much attention to Humphrey’s gun. Deputies described Lemmon’s mannerisms as anxious and fidgety and went on heightened alert due to their suspicions, Sgt. Josh McDowall said.
Humphrey, who was present at the counsel table to testify in the trial, was able to create separation from the attack while deputies quickly intervened and took the defendant to the ground, where he was secured and returned to jail. Medical staff treated one deputy for minor scrapes and abrasions.
McDowall said Newport Police Department is investigating possible new charges against Lemmon and will determine if the case should be turned over to an impartial office, such as Oregon State Police.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office news release:
On October 10, 2018, two Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Deputies were assigned to provide court security in room 305 of the Lincoln County Courthouse. At approximately 1010, an altercation took place when the defendant, an inmate, in custody of the Lincoln County Jail, made an attempt for a Newport Police Officer’s service weapon. The police officer, who was present at the counsel table to testify in the trial, was able to create separation from the attack, while jail deputies quickly intervened and took the defendant to the ground, he was secured and returned to the jail. Due to the swift actions from the officer and deputies involved, none of the parties sustained any serious injuries, jail medical staff treated one of the deputies for minor scrapes and abrasions. The defendant was unrestrained during this court appearance.
The defendant, Scott Patrick Lemmon, 27 of Newport, who was on trial for charges of Robbery II, Burglary I, Theft II, two counts of Menacing and four counts of Coercion, was later convicted on all charges and sentenced to the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections. The actions taken by this defendant will be reviewed for possible new criminal charges.
In the fall of 2017, the 9th Circuit Court found the practice of shackling (restraining) criminal defendants without a specific finding by a Judge, is unconstitutional. They did not leave any ambiguity or room for argument; it is now a clearly established right in the 9th Circuit.
What does this mean in Lincoln County…………………
What this means is, our prior practice of requiring restraints for individuals going into the courtroom had to be revised. In order to follow statutory requirements, Lincoln County established new practices which now requires all individuals to have a hearing by a Judge prior to restraints being placed on the individual for court purposes. The ruling remains active all the way through the sentencing phase, but may be adjusted at any time by the Judge. If additional charges are placed on the individual while still in custody, a new hearing will take place. If they return to custody after their release, a new hearing will take place. In order to ensure safety and security for all parties involved, any time a Judge makes a ruling of no restraints, a minimum of two deputies are required to be in the courtroom with the individual.
This is the first serious incident that has taken place in Lincoln County since the ruling change.
Prepared by Sgt. Josh McDowall