Flu-masked Spokane inmate spooks defense lawyer

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by Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on October 20, 2009 at 11:35 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 20 at 11:35 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. - A court hearing for a Spokane County Jail inmate was postponed a day because he was wearing a surgical mask and the defense lawyer refused to sit next to him.

The jail had the inmate wear the mask as a precaution against swine flu. He had shared a cell with sick inmates.

The Spokesman-Review reports Spokane County Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno has called a meeting with lawyers and jail staff on Thursday to discuss the flu threat. In court last week she asked, "Are we going to do this with all people with the sniffles?"

The jail requires inmates with cold or flu symptoms and anyone near to wear the protective masks when they leave their cells.

As a precaution the jail also postponed sending an inmate to Oregon last week.

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