The man, 55, jumps on the bench and breaks a flagpole before he is finally subdued
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Mar 21, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 12:56 a.m. HST, Mar 22, 2012
When a man entered the courtroom, jumped on District Judge Lono Lee's bench and broke in two a flagpole behind the judge Monday, Lee took matters into his own hands.
Lee put the man in a chokehold and subdued him until sheriffs arrived to assist.
The judge could not be reached for comment, but Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz confirmed the incident Tuesday.
"He jumped onto the bench, broke the Hawaiian flag, and that's when the judge subdued him by knocking him down and putting him in a chokehold," Schwartz said. "And then the sheriffs took him into custody."
The man was identified as Steven Michael Hauge, 55. He was arrested and charged on counts of disorderly conduct, obstruction of government operations and fourth-degree criminal property damage, Schwartz said. He was being held at Oahu Community Correctional Center after not being able to post $1,500 bail.
State Sheriff Shawn Tsuha said Hauge had been going from courtroom to courtroom on the 10th floor screaming.
Tsuha said that a judge and court bailiffs confronted Hauge when he grabbed a Hawaii flag posted behind the judge and broke the staff when he was swinging it around. "He was quite upset about something," Tsuha said.
Lee has been on the bench since former Hawaii Chief Justice Ronald Moon appointed him in April 2003. Before that he had been in private practice and also served as a city attorney for 10 years.
It is not clear why Hauge was in the Honolulu District Court Building on Alakea Street.
Hauge has an extensive record dating to 1977 with more than 50 convictions for a variety of charges from burglary and fraud to assault, according to online court records.