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May 2005

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.


FBA Asks for Proactive Approach to Judicial Security

In a letter to the chair and ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, the Federal Bar Association (FBA) has asked that a number of security concerns be addressed to ensure the safety of federal judges and their families.

“The Federal Bar Association is committed to assuring that federal judges and other Judicial Branch officials are able to perform their duties in safety, which is critical to the rule of law in our country,” Thomas R. Schuck, president of the FBA, wrote to Representatives Howard Coble (R-NC) and Robert Scott (D-VA). The FBA letter addressed judicial security as the subcommittee began consideration of H.R. 1751, the Secure Access to Justice and Court Protection Act of 2005.

“We recommend that Congress ensure a reasonable minimum level of home security for Article III judges and the members of their immediate family,” Schuck said in the letter, “either fully or partially funded or defrayed with tax incentives.” To provide reasonable levels of security when judges and members of their family are not in secure locations, the FBA recommended funding for remote car starters, global positioning devices on judges’ cars, and personal pagers that would send an alert when activated.

The association also supports the timely implementation and funding of DOJ recommendations made in a March 2004 Inspector General’s report, which would affect the U.S. Marshals Service’s judicial security process; greater collaboration between the USMS and the Administrative Office on security issues; adequate funding for and sharing of the USMS threat assessments among federal districts, state courts, and state law enforcement agencies; funded training by the USMS of federal judges, their staff, and family members, as appropriate, to identify and deal with threatening or suspicious behavior outside of protected areas; Congressional action to protect personal information about judges and members of their immediate families: legislation restricting the publication of personal information about federal judges and their employees; and review of current laws for their adequacy to protect federal judges and family members from harassment that does not rise to the level of threatening behavior.

Read more about what the Federal Bar Association has to say on judicial security by visiting www.fedbar.org/legis.html#judicialsecurity.