Magistrate resigns over courthouse incident caught on camera

Magistrate resigns after courtroom incident
Hamilton County Common Pleas Magistrate Michael Bachman quit this week after this video captured his encounter with a woman in his courtroom. (Photo: Provided by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)
Hamilton County Common Pleas Magistrate Michael Bachman quit this week after this video captured his encounter with a woman in his courtroom. (Photo: Provided by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)
Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Magistrate Michael Bachman guides a woman back into his courtroom. (Photo: Provided by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)
Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Magistrate Michael Bachman guides a woman back into his courtroom. (Photo: Provided by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)

HAMILTON COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - The primary magistrate for a county court system in southwest Ohio quit this week after a courthouse incident was captured on surveillance camera.

Hamilton County court officials told Common Pleas Magistrate Michael Bachman to resign or be fired after video cameras showed him running after a woman who left his courtroom and then putting his hand on her shoulder to direct her back in.

Bachman quit Monday, writing in his resignation letter that he released the county, the county court system "and all judges and employees of such entities from any and all liability arising from any acts or omissions of these entities or individuals to the date of resignation."

"I understand hereafter I am authorized to enter only public areas of Hamilton County buildings and must enter such buildings as an ordinary citizen."

It all started the morning of Sept. 4, when officials in Bachman's court told Kassandra Jackson, 28, she was too late to file for a protection order and had to return the next day. Bachman was overseeing another proceeding inside his courtroom.

Jackson is seen on camera outside the courtroom, in a hallway, visibly upset.

[Watch the video of the incident in the player above]

The video shows her speaking to a member of Bachman's staff in the hallway and then walking away.

Less than a minute later, the magistrate is seen on camera coming out the door of his courtroom, going into the hallway and looking for her.

When he sees her at the other end of the hall, he points his finger and appears to order her back into the courtroom.

Jackson appears to be leaving as she heads to the stairwell, but that's when the magistrate jogs after her, according to the video.

After Bachman confronts her, Jackson begins to walk with him back toward his courtroom.

At one point, she appears to turn down the wrong hallway. The video shows Bachman placing his hand on her shoulder and guiding her to the right courtroom door.

Bachman leads Jackson into court and takes her to the empty jury box where, still holding her, forces her to sit in a chair as attorneys and others in the courtroom watched.

As he leaves the video frame, Bachman is seen once again pointing his finger at Jackson.

He notified her she was being charged with contempt of court, record show, and sentenced her to at least three days in jail, jail official said.

Deputies arrive in the courtroom. They appear to ask Jackson to come with them, but she begins to walk to the other end of the jury box, where a struggle ensues, according to the video footage.

More deputies arrive, and Jackson is led out of the courtroom.

Out in the hall, Jackson appears to be resisting as deputies take her to an elevator and onto another floor for criminal processing.

Bachman added seven days to her sentence because she resisted arrest, court records show.

She was booked into the jail that day but released two days later when presiding Common Pleas Judge Kim Wilson Burke ordered her contempt charge and the rest of her sentence dropped "for good cause," jail officials said.

Bachman tells FOX19 NOW he touched the woman only in an attempt to guide her back into the courtroom.

She disrupted his court proceedings to the point where they could not go on, he said.

Bachman said he did not know the woman when asked why he pointed to her and hurried up to her.

"I had no idea who this woman was, or why she was in the courthouse. I do know that the courthouse should be a bastion of civility, where trials should be able to be conducted without interruption by people screaming and yelling. And that is what she was doing. I called for her to stop and told and motioned for her to come back, but she did not." Bachman said.

He has spent most of his career working in Hamilton County's court system. He became a magistrate in 2007 and became the primary one in 2013, his personnel file shows.

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