Man charged with bringing handgun into Portland courthouse

Posted March 16, 2011, at 9:45 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Police say a man attempted to bring a gun into a protection-from-abuse court hearing in Portland, underscoring ongoing concerns about courthouse security in Maine.

Police say 42-year-old Val Graffa was arrested after court marshals at a security checkpoint found a .45-caliber, Derringer-style handgun zippered in a pouch.

William Snedeker, chief of the Maine Judicial Marshals, says Graffa told marshals that he forgot the gun was in the pouch on Friday. It was not loaded.

Security screening was in effect at the time, but the judicial system cannot afford to do screenings all the time. Chief Justice Leigh Saufley has repeatedly sought additional funding for security.

The Portland Press Herald says Graff is charged with having a gun in a courthouse, carrying a concealed weapon and violating a temporary protection-from-abuse order.