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Courtroom visitor is restrained

A man who went to Buffalo City Court Friday to support a friend ended up being handcuffed in the courtroom for an hour for openly chewing licorice, loudly complaining when he was ordered to leave and pushing court security officers.

David Alston, 41, who identified himself only as a business owner and a member of Laborers Local 210, apologized to City Judge Craig D. Hannah for pushing uniformed court officers in a second-floor hallway after he was ordered to leave court.

Alston said he is considering filing a complaint with state judicial officials against the judge over the incident.

The incident began shortly after 10 a.m. when Alston was told to leave the courtroom. He complained loudly and then, in the hallway, allegedly pushed a court officer and was handcuffed.

Hannah had ordered that he be brought back into the courtroom for an explanation about courtroom decorum. He then told Alston he had originally been ordered to leave court because of the need to maintain order and decorum at all times.

Hannah warned Alston that, under the state judiciary law, he could have him immediately jailed for contempt of court for 30 days. Instead, the judge made him sit handcuffed for an hour as he dealt with a number of cases before Alston formally apologized to the court deputies and the judge.

Alston told Hannah: "I'm sorry if I disrespected the court. I'm not normally a person who loses his temper." The judge then ordered him released from custody about 11:15 a.m., telling him he had "successfully mitigated" his courtroom misbehavior.

As he left court, Alston refused to further identify himself and declined to comment after saying he is considering filing a formal complaint against Hannah.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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