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Lawyer Steps in as Ex-Marine Attacks Wife in Judge's Chambers

By Adam Ramirez on April 27, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As any family law lawyer will tell you, divorce law can be one of the most challenging of practices. Just ask the Florida lawyer who witnessed a "surreal," savage attack on his client in a judge's chambers.

An ex-Marine viciously attacked his wife during a final divorce hearing in a judge's chambers last Friday and had to be subdued with a stun gun.

Paul Henry Gonzalez Jr., 28, of Fort Lauderdale, left Catherine Scott-Gonzalez, 23, with two black eyes, broken facial bones and split lips. His bond was set at $1 million on charges of felony battery, domestic violence and resisting arrest without violence, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Michael Dunleavy, Scott's attorney, described the assault in Broward County Judge Ronald Rothschild's chambers to the paper thusly:

"He was punching with a true vengeance. It was vicious," said Dunleavy, who intervened and held Gonzalez in a bear hug until deputies arrived. "He was in a rage."

Dunleavy said Gonzalez, who did not have an attorney, balked at paying child support and having a judge tell him when he could or couldn't visit his children and stormed out of the chambers. He returned to shout something about not obeying any orders, Dunleavy said, and again retreated.

Gonzalez raced back in, and "without provocation" began pummeling Scott with closed fists, according to a police report.

Gonzalez rushed Scott from behind, grabbed her by the neck and repeatedly hit her on the side of her face.

Meanwhile, Scott collapsed in courtroom clerk's arms, a pool of blood forming near the judge's chair, Dunleavy said.

When deputies tried to handcuff Gonzalez, he threw them off until they eventually pinned him on the judge's conference table and shocked him twice with a stun gun, according to Dunleavy and the police report, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

"It was surreal," Dunleavy told the paper. "To see that violence play out in a judge's chambers is somewhat surreal."

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