Judges Ask For More Security Amid Threats Two major groups representing immigration and Social Security judges appeared in Washington on Monday to ask the federal government to do more to protect them. In these kinds of cases, judges often rule from office buildings, instead of traditional courtrooms, without metal detectors and guards in the room.
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Judges Ask For More Security Amid Threats

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Judges Ask For More Security Amid Threats

Law

Judges Ask For More Security Amid Threats

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.

CARRIE JOHNSON: Judge Randall Frye fears more violence could be on the way.

JOHNSON: Over the past four years, there have been approximately 200 similar kinds of threats. And unfortunately, some of those threats have been acted on.

JOHNSON: Here's Judge Dana Leigh Marks. She hears immigration cases in San Francisco.

JOHNSON: One colleague reports that the brake lines to her car were cut while in the parking lot at work. Another judge was grabbed by the robe by an irate respondent. Another judge experienced someone attempting suicide, right there in the courtroom.

JOHNSON: The courtrooms are small, with no metal detectors. Contract guards, paid by the hour, peek through a hole in the door rather than patrol inside. And Judge Frye says the guards sometimes arrive too late to help.

JOHNSON: I mentioned one judge who had to take disability retirement in 2008 after being hit over the head with a chair while she was in the courtroom. One was physically assaulted in the government facility, in the hall - was kicked, repeatedly hit in various parts of the body. And he, too, ultimately had to take disability retirement.

JOHNSON: Judge Marks says her colleagues sometimes share an elevator with people they've just ruled against.

JOHNSON: We render decisions at the end of a hearing right there, in real time, looking eye to eye with the person who is claiming relief. So if we have to deny their case, they are right there, experiencing all that emotion, and all that potential anger, if the case doesn't go their way.

JOHNSON: But Judge Frye says the issue is too important for judges to remain silent.

JOHNSON: Carrie Johnson, NPR News, Washington.

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