Leaders of the federal judiciary have privately urged Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to consider replacing the director of the U.S. Marshals Service, reports the Washington Post. The judges have complained that weak management has left judges and courthouses in danger.
The normally reserved federal judges have criticized the lackluster performance of Marshals Service director Benigno G. Reyna, and his failure to respond quickly to their pleas for more security. Those concerns were magnified in February, when an angry litigant broke into the home of U.S. District Judge Joan H. Lefkow in Chicago and killed her husband and mother. The judges’ increasing frustration is due to be aired Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, when Lefkow, Renya, and others are scheduled to testify. At a recent congressional hearing, Jane Roth, an appellate judge based in Wilmington, De., complained about a secretive agency that she said pays lip service to its primary mission — protecting judges — but does not devote enough money to the job. The Marshals Service, the agency handles about 700 instances of threats or inappropriate communications to judicial officials each year. In 2003, the agency monitored and managed 20 protective details for federal judges and federal prosecutors, including 12 that ran around-the-clock.