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Tuesday, August 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Man accused of threatening a Spokane County judge

When Richard T. Reitz appeared in court Friday on a charge of intimidating a judge he was handcuffed and flanked by three corrections officers. But they said the intense security was needed because of his violent, unpredictable behavior in jail and not the alleged threat.

Reitz was in the courtroom of Spokane County District Court Judge Debra Hayes on Tuesday for a domestic violence restraining order hearing. Moments after Hayes granted that order, Reitz violated it twice while still in the courtroom, according to court records.

Hayes had Reitz arrested by Sheriff’s deputies and taken to jail for violation of the protection order. Jail staff said that Reitz immediately started making threats against Hayes, saying he was going to go looking for her when he got out and wanted to find out where she lived, according to court documents.

A jail nurse told deputies that Reitz said that if he was taken back to Hayes’ courtroom he would jump the barriers and “have my cuffs around her neck,” according to court documents.

In court Friday, Reitz continually interrupted Spokane County Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt, complaining that he didn’t like his attorney and didn’t want to proceed with his first appearance.

“I’m mentally ill, your honor,” he said.

Sypolt finally ordered that the jail courtroom microphone be muted so he could proceed with the hearing.

Jail staff told Sypolt that Reitz is off his medications and his uncontrollable and unsafe behavior warranted the handcuffs. While Reitz was being brought to court earlier this week he reportedly acted out so much that he had to be tackled to the ground by corrections officers.

Reitz was ordered held on $50,000 bond. His lengthy criminal history in Washington and Ohio includes multiple convictions for domestic violence assault, disorderly conduct, malicious mischief and intimidating a victim or witness.

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