National Security

Marshals Service lacks capacity to track threats against judges properly, watchdog says

credit: Shane T. McCoy / US Marshals

A watchdog said that the U.S. Marshals Service lacks the capacity to properly track threats to judges.

A Wednesday report from the Justice Department’s inspector general highlighted gaps where the Marshals Service isn’t fully protecting judges. 

The report said the agency “does not have adequate proactive threat detection capabilities” to track threats made against federal judges on social media and online forums. 

It also said the agency’s home invasion system is outdated, adding that other priorities have halted the funding of judicial security. 

A U.S. Marshals Service spokesperson said in an email to The Hill that the agency is  “responsible for the protection of the federal judicial process, and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

“Ensuring that the judicial process operates independently and free from harm or intimidation is paramount to the rule of law and the reduction of violent crime.  The integrity of the judicial process is predicated on the safe and secure conduct of judicial proceedings and the protection of judges, jurors, and witnesses.” 

The report comes after a lawyer shot and killed a New Jersey federal judge’s 20-year-old son and seriously wounded her husband in a murder-suicide in July, noted the Associated Press, which first reported the analysis

The lawyer was able to look up the judge’s address online and disguised himself as a mail delivery driver to pull off the attack. 

The federal judiciary said in March that it needs to increase its security, citing the murder-suicide as well as 50 courthouses being damaged during protests across the country. 

The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department for comment.

—Updated at 6:02 p.m.

Tags Esther Salas New Jersey U.S. Marshals Service
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