A Waterloo Village Justice is listed in guarded condition at Strong Hospital after a weekend attack outside his courtroom. It happened Saturday night after an arraignment.
Applying justice can be a job where very few friends are made.
"If I don't get at least a threat a week, it's a bad week, but after being here so long, you know when to take them serious, you know when not to take them serious," said Village Justice Dean Mattoon.
Mattoon served as Waterloo's judge since 1989. Saturday night his colleague, Judge Roger Barto, was brutally attacked after a late night arraignment. Barto was filling-in for him.
"It could have been me, it could have been him, it could have been any judge," said Mattoon.
Village Police Chief Doyle Marquart says Barto was leaving the courthouse. He was alone and locking up. That's when an attacker came from behind him, strangling him and eventually striking him in the head with a toilet tank lid. Police believe the attacker pulled it from a nearby dumpster, used during building renovations.
"The State Police had someone in here they were arraigning. They had left and taken that person to the county correctional facility. Our officers arrived and they found Judge Barto laying outside the front door of the courtroom entrance," said Marquart.
Village officials say the arraignment that night was for serious traffic violations. Police are not connecting it to the case.
"Sometimes people come with someone under arrest but that was not the case here," said Marquart.
Security cameras are already in the process of being installed. The police chief says hopefully that will avoid something like this happening again.
"We have to beef up security and that will be done," said Marquart.
Marquart says no one is in custody but they are looking into leads.
Mattoon says Barto's condition has been improving.
"He's in guarded condition but he's on the uphill bend," said Mattoon.