Alabama judge leaves bench when defendant collapses

Alabama judge leaves bench when defendant collapses

November 21st, 2012 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A Marshall County judge leapt from the bench and helped resuscitate a defendant who collapsed and stopped breathing in his courtroom.

District Judge Tim Riley began performing CPR on 48-year-old Franklin Gary Carter, of Grant, because he thought Carter was going to die, the judge said Wednesday.

Carter was making his first appearance in Riley's courtroom in Guntersville on Tuesday to answer to a methamphetamine- possession charge. Defense lawyer Mark Teal said he was explaining to Carter an arrangement for his release when the defendant became very quiet, stopped moving, and slumped over.

Riley said he didn't hesitate to get down from the bench when he saw that Carter was in trouble.

"It was the Christian thing to do," the judge said.

The judge, Teal and others worked on Carter's chest for several minutes before he was revived and taken to a cardiac unit at a Huntsville hospital. They did not know his condition, and a spokesman for the hospital was unavailable Wednesday evening.

Riley said he learned CPR while in the National Guard and as a Boy Scout leader, and had used it several times, although never in a situation like Tuesday's.

A district judge in Marshall County for 20 years, Riley was elected to a circuit judge position earlier this month. He will occupy the new post in January.