The Justice Department inspector general, three years after it warned the U.S. Marshals Service to do better at protecting the 2,200 federal judges, says the agency is lagging, the Associated Press reports. That puts judges in danger as threats against them have almost doubled in the past five years. Examples of problems: Some threats of harm to judges aren’t reviewed for days. Investigations into suspicious behavior at courthouses are sloppily done. Funds are lacking to identify and prevent acts of violence in and outside work.
Inspector General Glenn Fine’s review raises questions of proper use of resources in safeguarding judges, an issue that probably will be examined at the Senate confirmation hearings of Attorney General-designate Michael Mukasey. As a federal judge in the 1990s, Mukasey was given bodyguards at a cost of at least $28 million, even as department officials argued about how much of a threat he really faced. The Marshals agency said in response to Fine’s report said it would take additional steps to improve protection and seek more money for security. The report listed Nevada as having 227 threats to federal judges and other court officials, more than any other judicial district.