Threats Up Against Federal Judges
- USA Today 3/11/08Threats up against federal judges, lawyersBy Kevin Johnson, USA TODAYWASHINGTON — Threats against federal judges and prosecutors are on pace to rise for the fifth consecutive year, according to statistics from the U.S. Marshals Service.
In response, federal officials are expanding their surveillance efforts to include suspects who have threatened state and local authorities and who represent a possible danger to federal court officials.
The U.S. Marshals Service, the agency assigned to protect 2,000 federal judges and more than 5,000 prosecutors across the USA, tracked a 69% increase in "inappropriate communications" with federal officials from fiscal years 2003 to 2007. Those can include outright threats or a pattern of suspicious mailings. The numbers rose each year even though investigators in 2007 began counting multiple threats from the same suspect as one case.
This year is on pace to exceed 2007, logging 503 threats through Feb. 9.
Authorities say they increasingly are seeing suspects begin by lashing out in public venues such as city council chambers and then escalating their activities to target federal judges and prosecutors.