BUFFALO, NY - Buffalo defense attorney Joseph Terranova has two black eyes. He stood before a judge to be taken off the case for a client who he says assaulted him during a meeting inside the Erie County Holding Center on Friday.
A host of deputies surrounded Mark Dublino in the courtroom. He's the defendant who was to be sentenced for a 2016 attempted murder case.
Terranova said on Friday, "[Dublino] stood up on a pretense that he was nauseous and then came around the table, pushed me down, I was pinned in the very close confines of those rooms. They are too close to defend yourself in."
It took at least a minute before he could get help. "I signaled the control room which is the only way, you press a button and they get on the overhead speaker and they say what do you want and you tell them we're done and they open the inmate door and let him out," he said.
Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard was not available for an interview.
His office said in a statement, "This is the first assault in the attorney-client area since the opening of the holding center in 1986. The Sheriff's Office offers non-contact visitation if the attorney chooses that venue as well as provides additional security measures if this office is made aware of any threats to the attorney. We have the capability for video conferencing as well, which we announced last year."
"If the Holding Center took the minimal effort and I think and expense to put in a panic button, which every deputy in the jail carries, if they're assaulted or have a problem, they press it and it spawns an immediate response from the facility," says Terranova.
Since he was attacked, he's heard from lawyers who are now saying they will not go to the Holding Center to meet with clients fearing an attack.