Threats Rise Against Federal Judges; Marshals On Alert


Threats against federal judges and other court employees have reached record numbers, reports USA Today. The number of threats in fiscal year 2005 increased 63 percent from 2003, says the U.S. Marshals Service. Marshals investigated 953 threats and inappropriate communications. Threats this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, are outpacing last year, with 822 incidents so far. “It seems like every few months there’s some type of major threat to a judge,” says Marshals Service Director John Clark. “It’s very clear to me that we need to continue to be vigilant.”

The service has tripled its number of threat investigators and analysts from eight to 25. A 24-hour threat analysis and intelligence center with new technology becomes fully operational in October. An official attributes the increase in threats to more litigation, more aggressive communication from people with complaints against judges, easier access to judges’ information, and improved reporting. A year before the killings of a Chicago federal judge’s husband and mother, a U.S. Justice Department inspector general’s report criticized the marshals’ threat assessment process as “untimely and of questionable validity.”


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