Three years after the murders of a Chicago federal judge’s husband and mother, and the courthouse shooting of a Georgia judge and his court reporter, judicial security remains fragmented and uneven — and the bad economy may slow planned upgrades, reports the National Law Journal. The shocking 2005 murders galvanized judges across the U.S. to begin re-examining security in courthouses and the personal protection of judges. Despite some rapid improvements, serious holes remain in some areas.
County Sheriff Simon Leis in Cincinnati says economic pressures have him “leaning” toward reassignment of deputies who provide courthouse security, rather than eliminating other patrols. California Chief Justice Ronald George needs $27 million for such things as weapons screening, cameras, and duress alarms. He pointed to old courthouses where guards escort prisoners down the same halls as witnesses, jurors and the public. “It’s an intolerable situation,” he said. Judge Dwayne Steidley of Rogers County, OK says “security funding is a hodgepodge.” The U.S. Marshals Service included state and local law enforcement in judicial security training this year for the first time and graduated its first class in December.