Las Vegas Judge attacked in Court during sentencing

LAS VEGAS – A routine sentencing hearing for an assault conviction turned violent Thursday when the defendant unexpectedly leaped from his seat in the Las Vegas Justice Court and assaulted Justice of Peace Melanie Andress-Tobiasson on the bench, leaving the judge bloodied and with a head injury before deputies tackled the assailant. Officials confirmed the surprise courtroom attack remains under investigation.

“Court operations were immediately suspended so medical attention could be given along with securing the scene following the defendant’s completely unprovoked assault on Judge Andress-Tobiasson, who sustained facial wounds,” said court administrator Mike Carroll. The judge was transported to Sunrise Hospital for evaluation.

Chaotic Scene Quickly Subdued

Longtime Las Vegas Justice of Peace Judge Andress-Tobiasson was nearing conclusion of the routine hearing when defendant Thompson Cole jumped up and raced behind the bench around 9:15 am, abruptly striking Andress-Tobiasson in the face while grabbing her hair and slamming her head onto the desktop, stated witnesses.

Courtroom deputies reacted rapidly, wrestling the attacker to the ground within seconds and taking him into custody with the help of police officers summoned to the courtroom. The violent disturbance lasted under a minute before order was restored, but left the proceedings area in disarray.

Defendant Faced Max 6-Month Sentence

Ironically, Cole was appearing in court for formal sentencing after pleading guilty to misdemeanor battery charges for a separate assault incident when he opted to attack the presiding judge herself in a surprise move described as “deranged and entirely unforeseen,” according to Justice Court spokespersons.

Cole faced a relatively minor maximum six month jail sentence per plea deal terms after originally being charged with felony domestic battery for choking his pregnant ex-girlfriend during an altercation last October. Now he likely faces elevated charges for assaulting Judge Andress-Tobiasson plus attempted escape after also wrestling away from deputies briefly while being escorted outside in shackles following the judge attack.

Judge Home Recovering Under Observation

Andress-Tobiasson was treated at Sunrise Hospital for facial bruising, lacerations requiring stitches and a head contusion before being released home for recovery later Thursday according to court officials. She remains under medical observation but has already expressed determination to return to duties shortly.

The long-serving justice of peace judge was appointed in 2009 over Las Vegas Township jurisdiction after extensive experience both prosecuting and defending criminal cases in the city since 1997. Court administrators praised her steady leadership and transparency.

Meanwhile defendant Cole remains held without bond pending transfer to county jail and formal charges brought by prosecutors expected within 48 hours per standard protocols following violence within court premises. What began as routine sentencing ended with renewed gratitude for Vegas’ normally little-recognized judges after this shocking attack within the city’s halls of justice.

Leave a comment