Murderer's Hearing Moved to State Pen from Court - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Murderer's Hearing Moved to State Pen from Court

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In an usual move, Burleigh County Court moves to the State Prison for a convicted murderer's hearing on new charges.

John Bridges has been described as one of the most dangerous prisoners at the North Dakota State Prison.

Bridges' criminal background, murder conviction and recent charge of trying to kill an officer at the Pen forces authorities to change how they handle his court proceedings.

Donnell Preskey reports.

John Bridges is considered one of the most dangerous prisoners at the North Dakota State Prison.

He's serving a life plus 20 year sentence at the Pen for a murder last year in Burleigh County.

And on top of that, Bridges is accused of stabbing a correctional officer at the Pen in August with a homemade knife.

safety: based on his crimes, what he's committed and what he's charged with and his behaviors at the pen since he's been there was a concern to us.

So much of a concern, authorities decide to bring the court to Bridges instead of bringing Bridges to court.

"There's lots of dangers. You've got the individual. you are transporting. You don't know if they have communication with outside so we take into consideration chase vehicles. Higher hidden vehicle, two officers. Numerous precautions.

Judge Gail Hagerty, a clerk, prosecutor, and Bridge's defense attorney were all in the room at the Prison for Bridge's initial appearance.

Bridges was wheeled in, in what appeared to be a full restraint chair. He did not speak. The media watched and listened from a Burleigh County Courtroom.

very unusual, a sign of the times. as we get busier, the case loads increase we may see more in the future.

Prison officials say with the new expansion, the technology to conduct court hearings from the Pen is available especially when it involves dangerous, high profile prisoners.

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Burleigh County officials say this may be the first time a prison inmate has had a court hearing conducted this way.

Numerous counties and cities currently use ITV for Judge's to conduct court hearings with jail prisoners.

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