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Court security prepared for disorder in the court

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – An accused killer lashes out during a court hearing, startling friends and family of the victim who were present.

Larry Fernandez, accused of killing Frederick Brian Harvey in Eau Claire last summer, had a breakdown in court Thursday.

He lost his temper in front of the judge, yelling at her, while sitting next to his now former-attorney.

But when legal battles go wrong, who makes the next call?

The bailiffs inside the courtroom say they're always ready for the unpredictable.

It all started when Judge Lisa Stark asked Fernandez about reading through a 3,000 page discovery, a document that shows evidence in the case.

That’s when Fernandez retaliated.
This is what he had to say:

"In my entirety of any incarceration I’ve ever done, I have never had a discovery held from me in the matter that it is being now, for manipulative purposes to keep prolonging, so I cannot look at it and itemize it and spread it out on the floor. And now it sounds like you're (Judge Stark) also going with the fact that both the administration and the jail is also stating and that in itself is not constitutional and not right. I don't care if they made provisions or if there's rules. It's unconstitutional and it's infringing upon my liberty to defend myself properly."

His outburst caused tears for a friend of the victim, out of fear.

But when the chaos began, there were two deputies in the room keeping close eye.

“As you saw there were two deputies in the film behind the defendant. They came up to make sure that the subject does not get towards the judge or injures his attorney,” said Sheriff Ron Cramer.

Cramer said right now there are four deputies who work the courthouse courtrooms and Eau Claire County Courthouse is one of few of this size to not have security checks for courtrooms.

But deputies on duty are armed with a number of weapons including a handgun and even a taser.

“Number one, our responsibility is to move inmates to and from courtroom. And secondly to keep that courtroom safe from anything that can happen,” said Cramer.

People like Fernandez who are already in custody are cuffed, he added.

“That person was in shackles and was in handcuffs at the time so we have a little bit of control already of the individual,” said Cramer.

Deputies are also prepared for those who are not in custody nor cuffed.

“If someone jumped behind there and tried to a cause a problem, the bailiffs would do an arrest and remove them from the courtroom,” said Cramer.

But ultimately, the power in the courtroom belongs to the judge.

The public defender on Fernandez’s case asked to be removed which Judge Stark allowed.

On Friday, Sheriff Cramer plans to meet with the bailiffs to debrief on the situation.


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