June 3, 2010 BY RUMANNA HUSSAIN AND FRANK MAIN Staff Reporters

A Cook County prosecutor was hospitalized this morning after being choked in a hallway of the 26th and California criminal courthouse, allegedly by an assistant public defender, authorities said said.

The 50-year-old assistant state’s attorney was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and was in good condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The incident happened after an argument spilled out from Judge Clayton Crane’s courtroom on the sixth floor, authorities said.

The two disagreed over when to set the next court date on a post conviction hearing for convicted murderer Derrick Neal.

“We could just set a date on Aug. 5. I don’t see a problem. . .,” the public defender said, according to a transcript of the hearing.

The prosecutor responded, “I didn’t say there was a problem. I’m trying to be convenient to everybody, including myself and the court.”

The prosecutor “left the courtroom and was in the hallway when the public defender came up to him and resumed the argument. That led to a physical fight where the public defender had to be pulled off of the state’s attorney,’’ Cook County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Patterson said in a statement. It took two deputies to separate the men, he said.

The public defender put the prosecutor in a “choking headlock,’’ police said. The public defender allegedly  told a bystander he did it because he was “sick of him mocking him,” the bystander said.

Someone called 911 from the courthouse at 11:09 a.m. and the victim was taken by ambulance to Mount Sinai, police said. A sheriff’s deputy also suffered a minor injury.

Patterson said the incident remains under investigation and no charges had been filed as of this afternoon.

The suspect works in the legal resources division of the Cook County Public Defender’s office, handling post-conviction appeals and appellate court matters, sources said.
11/14/2010 11:20:13 pm

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