Nearly a decade after they presided over terrorism trials, two federal judges based in New York City remain under 24-hour protection by deputy U.S. marshals, who complain their duties include carrying groceries and golf clubs, the Associated Press reports. Security for U.S. District Judges Michael Mukasey and Kevin Thomas Duffy and their spouses far exceeds the protection given any other federal judge.
AP quotes experts as saying that the seemingly random approach to protecting judges reflects the complexity of responding to threats against the 2,000 federal judges and magistrates nationwide, a job that falls on the U.S. Marshals Service. Said Howard Safir, former New York City police commissioner who once headed operations for the Marshals Service, “Threat analysis is an art, not a science.” About three dozen deputies who help protect Mukasey and Duffy around the clock have filed a grievance charging that the judges and their spouses have abused their position and compromised security by expecting their bodyguards “to carry groceries, luggage and golf clubs.” Deputies “who are busy loading and unloading groceries clearly cannot immediately react to an attack,” the grievance says.