A recent incident at a town court in Palermo, New York, has led to a lawyer and two others being charged with misdemeanors. Lawyer Salvatore F. Lanza, 66, of the Lanza Law Office in Fulton, New York, found himself in a physical confrontation that has raised questions about whether he was acting in self-defense or committing assault.

According to a report by, Lanza claimed that he was defending himself when he put an ex-client’s girlfriend, Christine Johnson, in a headlock. The incident occurred on June 3 during a court proceeding involving Lanza’s ex-client, Steven Marrone. Marrone and Johnson were also involved in the altercation and have been charged with misdemeanors.

Lanza stated that Marrone had grabbed him and a struggle ensued, leading to Johnson attacking him with her fingernails. In response, Lanza put Johnson in a headlock to stop the assault. However, Marrone offered a different version of events, claiming that he had only lightly touched Lanza’s shoulder as a gesture of courtesy.

The sheriff’s office spokesperson mentioned that Lanza continued to argue with Marrone even after he was taken from the courtroom. Lanza was later taken to an urgent care medical facility and charged with three misdemeanors, including criminal contempt and obstruction of governmental administration.

Despite the charges, Lanza has maintained his innocence and intends to plead not guilty when he appears for arraignment. He is being represented by lawyer Mary Felasco of Fulton, New York. Lanza emphasized that the statements from the town judges and court clerk support his version of events and contradict the claims made by Marrone and Johnson.

The incident has sparked debates about the role of lawyers in such confrontations and whether self-defense can justify physical actions in a courtroom setting. The case is set to unfold further as legal proceedings progress, shedding light on the complexities of legal ethics and professional conduct in tense situations.