Case dropped against attorney for bringing weapon to court

Posted: Sunday, May 05, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Prosecutors have dropped their case against a prominent Fairbanks attorney arrested for bringing a weapon into the Rabinowitz Courthouse for an evidentiary hearing.

Attorney Teresa Foster announced Friday she will not pursue charges against lawyer Bill Satterberg. Satterberg was arrested in April for bringing to court a 5-inch-long metal bar that can be gripped in the fist with two 2-inch spikes protruding between the fingers.

Alaska State Trooper Brian Wassmann arrested Satterberg because he said the metal fighting knuckles are illegal to possess as well as conceal.

Satterberg pulled the item out of his shirt pocket at the hearing when District Court Judge Raymond Funk asked for a definition of the client's weapon. Wassmann, who was on the witness stand at the time, seized the item while Funk was handing it back to Satterberg.

After the hearing, Wassman was arrested on misdemeanor charges of fourth- and fifth-degree misconduct involving a weapon. He was taken to the Fairbanks Correctional Center where he immediately put up the $500 for bail.

Foster said in a news release that Wassmann's actions had been correct even though no charges were being filed.

''We believe Mr. Satterberg showed very poor judgment in this matter,'' Foster said. ''But he has no criminal record and we are exercising our discretion not to file criminal charges against him.''

Satterberg said he was glad the charges have been dropped, but remained irritated at the arrest.

''If wiser minds on the part of state law-enforcement had exercised better judgment, it wouldn't have gone this far,'' he said.

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