As Threats Soar, Court Officials Pack Heat

Judges, prosecutors hire guards, carry guns after string of slayings
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 25, 2009 9:25 AM CDT
Judges and prosecutors are facing a surge in threats.   (Shutterstock)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Judges and prosecutors are facing a huge upswing in threats, driving many to carry guns or get 24-hour guard protection, the Washington Post reports. Threats against federal court officials have jumped from 592 to 1,278 in the past 6 years. “I live with a constant heightened sense of awareness,” said a federal judge who's taking firearm classes and carries a pistol.

Officials link the surge to anger stoked online, economic woes, an increase in violent offenders like terrorists and gang suspects, and growing anti-government sentiment led by anti-tax demonstrators and white supremacists, the Post says. And cases like the killing of a Chicago judge’s family, a deadly rampage in an Atlanta court, and in-court attacks on judges in New York and California only serve to underscore that threats are often not empty.