Waylon Jennings had a healthy respect for the legal profession, advising mothers to guide their children to the law or medicine, as opposed to picking guitars and driving them old trucks. But it seems modern day defendants have no such reverence for their counsel, and the scourge of lawyer punching spreads unabated across our nation’s courtrooms.

Just one month since an Ohio man punched his attorney’s face (and bit his butt) after receiving a 47-year sentence, a Florida man punched a public defender in the head, leading to a rule change requiring all first-appearance defendants in a Broward courtroom to be handcuffed.

When will the violence end?

An Isolated Incident?

The video of William Green’s attack on Assistant Public Defender Julie Chase seems innocuous at first — Chase is appearing at a bond hearing for another defendant. But then Green approaches from behind and strikes Chase, seemingly without provocation:

Chase was taken to, and quickly discharged from, a local hospital, and told WPLG-Ch. 10, “I’m OK.” While lawyers, as a profession, may sport a dishonest, “shark” reputation, public defenders are often overworked, underpaid, and vastly underappreciated. The Sun Sentinel reports Chase has worked with the Public Defender’s Office since 2005, the office’s Executive Chief Assistant, Gordon Weekes called her “a very dedicated attorney”; definitely not the punchable type.

A Disturbing Trend

Chase is far from the first attorney to be punched in court:

And, to be fair, it’s not just criminal defendants throwing hands. A former New York probation judge plead guilty to attempted assault after slugging an attorney outside of a party. So mommas, please have a talk with your children about the ills of punching lawyers. Feel free to give them Lonestar belt buckles and old faded Levi’s instead.

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