Unarmed Guards Take Prisoners To L.A. Courtrooms


Almost 2,000 people on trial for crimes in Los Angeles County like murder, rape, drug offenses, and robbery are taken from jail and bused to court daily, says the Los Angeles Times. They are turned over to 1,252 sheriff’s deputies and courtroom bailiffs. An elaborate courthouse security system keeps inmates safely away from the roughly 10,000 prospective jurors who are called to appear. The slashing of a lawyer in a courtroom last week by the gang member she was defending, and the shootings of three people in an Atlanta courthouse are a reminder that no security scheme is perfect. “We are as confident as you can be in a situation where you can never say ‘never,’ ” said Allan Parachini of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, said of the county’s nearly 600 courtrooms.

The screening system starts in one of the county’s seven jails, which hold about 17,000 inmates. Before prisoners leave, their identification wristbands are scanned. Then they are shackled together in groups of two or four and put on a sheriff’s department bus or van with a guard and a driver, who are both armed. At the courthouse, the vehicle pulls into an enclosed “sally port,” where the defendants are unloaded and escorted to a holding area inside the courthouse. When it’s time for their court appearance, defendants are escorted by deputies, who are not armed so that defendants can’t seize their weapons. The Times describes other security measures taken in the courtroom.

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-courtroom24mar24,1,3605791.story?coll=la-headlines-california

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