Court officers at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston saved the day when they quickly subdued a murder defendant who allegedly punched his attorney.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Karp was in court on August 21 working on pretrial motions in the murder trial of Cornell Smith, who is accused of murdering Northeastern University student Rebecca Payne in 2008. As the defense and prosecution were arguing the motion, Smith allegedly punched Karp, who was seated next to him. Court officers quickly moved in and removed Smith from the courtroom.

“The court officers did an excellent job,” Karp told reporters. “They got a hold of the situation very quickly. I could have been very hurt if he’d continued.” 


“A generation ago, defendants didn’t do this kind of thing, but now court officers see this kind of violence more and more,” said David Abbott, president of NAGE Local 458, which represents court security personnel across the Commonwealth. “We have to be ready to respond decisively in a heartbeat. The COs at Suffolk Superior Court did their jobs very well and saved Mr. Karp and others from further harm.”