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Security For Federal Judges Improves

us-marshall2Good news for federal judges who put their lives on the line going up against some of the nation’s toughest criminals and angry litigants who can get unhinged. Protection has improved. Not long ago the Marshal Service was under attack for not promptly investigating threats against judges.

Matthew Barakat
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Four years after the husband and mother of a federal judge were murdered in their home by a disgruntled litigant, federal marshals have dramatically increased resources dedicated to judicial security to keep pace with an increased number of threats.

At a ceremony Tuesday, the U.S. Marshals Service highlighted the new efforts to protect federal judges and prosecutors. Since September 2007, the work has been coordinated out of a secure Threat Management Center at its headquarters in Crystal City.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow of Chicago prodded Congress to increase funding for security after her husband and mother were killed in 2005 by an unemployed electrician whose lawsuit had been thrown out. She had also received death threats from a white supremacist.

Judge Lefkow said at the ceremony that judicial security is “so much improved over what it was before. … I can only hope this will prevent another incident such as ours.”

The ceremony formally dedicated the Threat Management Center’s conference room in Judge Lefkow’s name and in memory of her husband, Michael Lefkow, and mother, Donna Humphrey.

The Marshals Service said its judicial security efforts have improved significantly the past few years, thanks in part to millions of dollars in new funding from Congress.
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