Dubuque County To Make Changes After Assault on Prosecutor

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa — A convicted killer will face more charges after an attack on the Dubuque County attorney last Friday. Michael Mayton hit Dubuque County Attorney Ralph Potter in the head with his handcuffs just moments after Mayton was convicted of second degree murder. Potter was treated and released from an area hospital. Now, the Iowa Attorney General's Office says it will file charges against Mayton this week for the attack outside the courtroom.

That attack raises a big concern at the courthouse: If the Dubuque County prosecutor can be attacked, how safe is everyone else?

No one saw it coming. Captain Greg Egan said, "People are unpredictable and to know just how they are going to react and respond and what they might be capable of doing."

Egan says two deputies were escorting Michael Mayton out of the courtroom. One behind him, dressed in uniform. The other ahead of him, in plain clothes. Even with his hands cuffed, Mayton got past the guards. Some wondered why his hands weren't cuffed behind his back. Egan says that's up to each deputy's discretion.

With Friday's attack, Egan says that policy could soon change. He also says the age and the layout of the courthouse makes it difficult to safely escort inmates. It's close quarters inside the courthouse with only one way in and out of the courtroom. Egan said, "We have to play the cards we've been dealt and like I said we have a courthouse building that's significantly older and wasn't built with security measures in mind."

Egan says Mayton had not caused any problems while he sat in jail for the past year awaiting trial. But after Friday, that's all changed. "I think he's shown us that we need to be very careful of how we deal with him," Egan added.

Mayton is scheduled for sentencing July 26th. Egan says deputies will use extra restraints when brining him in and out of the courtroom for that appearance.
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