An inmate from Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute was found to be in possession of a shank (a device molded as a weapon) in the courtroom of General Sessions Court Judge David Bales.
Brian Lee Carter was charged with burglary of an auto, escape from a penal institution, aggravated burglary, vandalism and criminal trespass.
The defendant was transported from the Hamilton County Jail to the General Sessions Court for a hearing. Judge Bales had previously appointed the public defender to represent the defendant. He spent several hours in the courtroom and in the offices of the public defender which adjoins the courtroom.
When stepping back into the hallway, court officers saw the weapon, that was wrapped in twisted paper, fall to the floor. The shank was described as a hard plastic, very pointed ink pen that was wrapped in cloth and had multiple rubber bands for a handle.
Judge Bales said, "The court officers, staff, attorneys and the general public were at risk. I am particularly concerned that a young public defender was in a small room alone with a defendant who had just escaped from Moccasin Bend and was armed with a concealed deadly weapon.
"Defendants are supposed to be searched before being transported to court. Court officer Wayne Dewell is to be commended for astutely observing and quickly confiscating the weapon. We all just have to be more careful and conscientious about safety considerations at the courthouse."