A Minnesota judge and vocal critic of a lack of weapons screening at three suburban courtrooms says he is refusing to hear cases at them until stronger security precautions are put into place, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I’m tired of driving to Brookdale, the courtroom everyone who knows agrees is the most likely place for a shooting or violence to occur, and not know whether I will be carried out in a body bag that day,” District Judge Lloyd Zimmerman wrote to judicial colleagues yesterday, citing the high number of domestic violence cases at that courtroom.
“I ask that you stand in solidarity with me. Do not go. Don’t take my place.” Zimmerman’s ultimatum follows a Dec. 15 shooting at the Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais that critically injured a prosecutor and witness, underscoring concern about the lack of weapon screening at courthouses in some Minnesota counties. Zimmerman, 57, an 11-year veteran of the bench, said he intends to continue hearing cases in downtown Minneapolis, where visitors are screened before they can enter the court and administration towers. He is one of 12 judges who rotate one week per month at the county’s three suburban courtrooms. Court administrators, who are scrambling to find replacements for hundreds of Zimmerman’s misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor cases, say they’re in the middle of a $77,000 study by a consulting firm to determine how to improve security.