Wednesday morning two Lincoln County Sheriff’s Jail Deputies were assigned to provide court security in room 305 of the Lincoln County Courthouse. At approximately 10:10am, an altercation took place when the defendant, a Lincoln County Jail inmate lunged for a Newport Police Officer’s gun. The police officer was able back away from the attack, while jail deputies quickly intervened and took the defendant to the ground. Inmate Scott Lemmon was secured and returned to the jail. Due to the swift actions by the officer and deputies, no one sustained any serious injuries. Jail medical staff treated one of the deputies for minor scrapes and abrasions. As per courthouse policy defendants are generally not handcuffed during their court appearances.
Lemmon’s original charges were 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. Wednesday’s incident could bring him back before the court in a separate criminal case against him.
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…………………
It means law enforcement’s prior practice of requiring restraints for individuals going into the courtroom had to be revised. In order to follow statutory requirements, Lincoln County Sheriff Curtis Landers ordered that prisoners, without handcuffs, will be taken from the jail to a courtroom escorted by two deputies.
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 defendant.
This is the first serious incident that has taken place in Lincoln County since the rule change.