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Client Who Decked Counsel Sentenced to 6 Months

Posted Mar 3, 2008 7:58 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A disgruntled client who decked his appointed defense counsel last month got the new lawyer he was seeking ... and more.

Although public defender Doug Crickmer said at the time that he forgave Peter Hafer, the Kentucky judicial system apparently wasn't ready to turn the other cheek. Hafer—whose punch to Crickmer's jaw, sending him to the floor, was recorded by a Scott County courtroom camera—was sentenced last week to a six-month jail term for the Feb. 4 attack, reports a local NBC News affiliate. (It also features a link to the video of the attack.)

It also won an appearance on Today for Crickmer, whose face featured a noteworthy black eye at the time.

Hafer appeared in court last week in handcuffs and apologized through his new attorney, Mark Bubenzer, a lawyer in private practice who is handling the case at the request of the Department of Public Advocacy, according to WYMT, another local station.

But Judge Robert Johnson said he had no choice but to hold Hafer in contempt and require him to serve the time consecutively to any sentence he is given if he is convicted of the underlying crime that brought him into court to begin with, reports the NBC affiliate.

"Many of the people out here have criminal charges or serious criminal charges, and if I allow what happened in court a month ago to happen without there being some punishment, this court would get into chaos, and that's not going to happen," the judge told Hafer.

As discussed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post, Hafer is accused of having stolen $51,000 worth of jewelry from a local Kmart with the help of an accomplice.

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