The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local News

April 2, 2013

Local judges, prosecutors react to Texas murders

Happe: Safety always part of training

ANDERSON, Ind. — “We have to give bad news to bad people. And a lot of times, they’re not happy about that.”

That’s how Madison County Circuit Judge David Happe summed up the relationship between judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and people being processed by the justice system.

It’s a relationship that can lead to tragedies like the one in Kaufman County, Texas. In the past two months, two prosecuting attorneys have been killed, the second coming this past weekend. District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found dead in their home on Saturday. The killings have unsettled the north Texas community and made officials from courts across the country, including Madison County, question their own safety.

Happe said judges and attorneys regularly attend conferences and receive training on how to keep themselves safe and how to deal with suspects and convicts during legal proceedings. While they’re trained to deal with it, the prospect of danger is always in the back of their minds, Happe said.

Surprisingly, defense attorneys and public defenders who work with suspects are usually the most at risk for reprisal, Happe said.

“It doesn’t make much sense, but defendants want their attorneys to be in their corner. If they fall short of that, a lot of people are unhappy,” Happe said.

That happened in Anderson in 2008 when a man abducted his attorney at knifepoint. Richard Hudson, who was serving a conviction for domestic battery, kidnapped lawyer Tom Hamer when Hamer received permission from a court to transport Hudson to Indianapolis for a Social Security hearing. Hudson held a steak knife near Hamer’s face and told the attorney he wasn’t going back to jail.

The situation was resolved and Hudson was eventually captured. But the peril of prosecuting and sentencing dangerous people can often extend to family members, as it did in Texas.

Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said his concern has always been more for his family than for himself. Cummings, who started his career as a police officer, said he’s well-versed in safety and is prepared for the hazards of his job.

“But I worry for my children,” Cummings said. “Especially when they were younger and growing up. It’s something I always have to be concerned with.”

Deputy prosecutor Steve Koester, who builds cases against major criminal felons, said he doesn’t really have time to be afraid.

“It’s always in the back of your mind,” Koester said. “But it can’t keep you from doing your job.”

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @AggieJack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • NWS - HB0820 - Kennedy Google- JC 2 Google X captures heart, imagination of AU professor After spending the summer working at Google's secret research laboratory in Mountain View, California, Scott Kennedy has decided to stay.

    August 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • boydx.jpg Mississippi fugitive arrested in Anderson

    A Mississippi man arrested by U.S. Marshals Monday night agreed to be transported back to Mississippi during an extradition hearing Tuesday. But the man said he's concerned about how he'll be treated once he returns.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mother who brought gun to school pleads guilty

    A mother who admitted to bringing a gun to a meeting at her son's school in April pleaded guilty on Tuesday.

    August 19, 2014

  • Residential electric rates increasing by 9 percent The electric rates for residential customers of Anderson Municipal Light & Power will increase by 8.96 percent for the final three months of the year.

    August 19, 2014

  • Anderson facing Aug. 28 deadline on pact

    After months of extended deadlines concerning Anderson’s participation in the consolidated 911 dispatch center for Madison County, a final one has been set.

    August 19, 2014

  • NWS - HB0820 - Anderson Christian-SH-1 Anderson Christian School finds new home at local church After months of uncertainty, Anderson Christian School has found a new home at Southern Heights Christian Church, and classes will begin on Sept. 8, Tom Snell, school administrator, said on Tuesday.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Election board looking into voter fraud allegation The Madison County Election Board delayed a decision into allegations of voter fraud in the May primary until it can gather additional information. Brian Bell, who lost the Democratic Party‚Äôs nomination for sheriff by 48 votes to Scott Mellinger, raised allegations to the election board during a hearing Friday.

    August 19, 2014

  • NWS - HB0815 - heroin bust - JM - james dixon New York suspect denies involvement in large heroin network A New York man suspected of involvement in the large heroin ring dismantled last week said he has never sold drugs in his life, though he suspected that's exactly what his brother was doing.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arrest Log: Aug. 20 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    August 19, 2014

  • Indiana experiences growth in manufacturing sector Known for its strength in traditional and progressive manufacturing, Indiana gained more than 5,500 jobs in the manufacturing sector last month and has maintaining a 5.9 percent unemployment rate from June.

    August 19, 2014

August Staff Photos


Buy and browse more photos from The Herald Bulletin

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Auto Industry Book
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook