Locked and Loaded: Judges Arm Themselves


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Vernal45
May 28, 2005, 08:01 PM
Locked and Loaded: Judges Arm Themselves

Saturday, May 28, 2005

ATLANTA Concerned about increased violence, more judges are carrying guns into their courtrooms.

"It sits beside me in the chair," Judge Arch McGarity of Henry County, Ga., said of his pistol.

McGarity and some of his colleagues were prompted to take action in the wake of some frightening incidents, like the assassination of Judge Roland Barnes (search) during a March 11 courthouse shooting in Atlanta or threats caught on a police car camera just outside Kansas City.

"I know where that [expletive] judge sits or [expletive] judge in Platte City lives, and I'm going to [expletive] take him out," a man yelled to a Parkville Police officer in the tape.

With threats like those, it's no surprise McGarity wants added security. "I think it's more than just courtroom security. We have to be safe in our transfers from the courthouse to our homes, to our other things that we have to do," he said.

McGarity has a pistol on him when he sits on the bench. The move is permitted by law, but has at least one sheriff crying foul.

"If we have a situation where we don't know who has weapons, we don't know their level of training, we don't know where the weapons are being stored and suddenly we have judges and secretaries and clerks shooting we have a nightmare," said Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill.

Trying to avert a tragedy, Judge Joan Lefkow (search) whose mother and husband were killed by a man angry with the judge called on Congress to make the protection of America's judges a top priority. She told the Senate Judiciary Committee (search) that politicians need to lower the rhetoric they use against judges when they disagree with their decisions.

"Fostering disrespect for judges can only encourage those that are on the edge of the fringe to exact revenge on a judge who ruled against them," Lefkow said.

Although it's unclear how many judges are armed, those with guns insist it is a rising trend.

"It's always best to have something you don't need than to need something you don't have," McGarity said.

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R.H. Lee
May 28, 2005, 08:03 PM
Good. It's more effective than a contempt of court citation.

Silver Bullet
May 28, 2005, 08:06 PM
Hopefully somebody will figure out that the little people need to arm themselves, too.

Standing Wolf
May 28, 2005, 08:22 PM
"If we have a situation where we don't know who has weapons, we don't know their level of training, we don't know where the weapons are being stored and suddenly we have judges and secretaries and clerks shooting we have a nightmare," said Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill.

Maybe the sheriff should keep a closer eye on the criminals instead of the law-abiding.

Vernal45
May 28, 2005, 10:01 PM
Maybe the sheriff should keep a closer eye on the criminals instead of the law-abiding.

And one Eye on his own department, lack of training and all.

Andrew Rothman
May 28, 2005, 10:23 PM
"It's always best to have something you don't need than to need something you don't have," McGarity said.

Well said, your honor. What's your handle here on THR? :D

Pilgrim
May 29, 2005, 11:48 AM
"If we have a situation where we don't know who has weapons, we don't know their level of training, we don't know where the weapons are being stored and suddenly we have judges and secretaries and clerks shooting we have a nightmare," said Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill.
Maybe the sheriff should keep a closer eye on the criminals instead of the law-abiding.

Or even better, learn when there are times when it is best to keep one's mouth shut.

Pilgrim

AF_INT1N0
May 29, 2005, 12:00 PM
Pilgrim, +1

beerslurpy
May 29, 2005, 12:27 PM
Didnt one of his well trained minions fail to exercise proper weapon retention recently?

I think that politicians need to encourage more judge impeachment. Maybe judges would be less eager to throw their weight around and legislate from the bench if there were real consequences to their malfeasance.

If judges arent punished by the government, who will they be punished by? Checks and balances are not pretty window-dressing on democracy, they are the safety valve for a wronged society. It is the last opportunity for government to fix itself before citizens begin to do unsettling things like vote.

More realistically, it is just a matter of time before Bush and his successors appoint a huge pile of strict constructionists/textualists/originalists and solve this problem from the other end. Unless Hillary gets elected. Then again, I am pretty confident that the republicans can make good use of ye olde filibuster in the unlikely event this happens.

Justin
May 29, 2005, 02:06 PM
This is worth repeating:

Trying to avert a tragedy, Judge Joan Lefkow (search) whose mother and husband were killed by a man angry with the judge called on Congress to make the protection of America's judges a top priority. She told the Senate Judiciary Committee (search) that politicians need to lower the rhetoric they use against judges when they disagree with their decisions.

"Fostering disrespect for judges can only encourage those that are on the edge of the fringe to exact revenge on a judge who ruled against them," Lefkow said.

Hmmm. So judge Lefkow's family is murdered by some angry piece of trash, and it's the fault of the Republicans who have been grandstanding about "activist judges." I heard an interview on NPR with her where she stated the same thing. Color me cynical, but I have to wonder what she's getting in return for using the death of her family to make a political statement.

Joejojoba111
May 29, 2005, 08:15 PM
""If we have a situation where we don't know who has weapons, we don't know their level of training, we don't know where the weapons are being stored and suddenly we have judges and secretaries and clerks shooting we have a nightmare," said Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill."

Yea, it's a much easier job to pick up 7 shell casings and the dead bodies of clerks secretaries and judges. All those cases on the ground if they shoot back, ugh what a nightmare.

Someone needs to slap sense to that sheriff, take his pistol away. That's what they need to do, tell him it's a nightmare.

Chipperman
May 29, 2005, 09:30 PM
"It's always best to have something you don't need than to need something you don't have," McGarity said.


"Well said, your honor. What's your handle here on THR? "



Unfortunately, he may not think the "little people" should have guns as well. More people for him to be afraid of.

gc70
May 29, 2005, 09:55 PM
This is a very interesting juxtaposition of views. The sheriff continues to spew the line that 'the professionals' can take care of things and nobody else needs to be armed. The judges, who apparently have the power to make their own choice in the matter, are rejecting that point of view and are arming themselves for their own defense. Now that the judges have seen the light, it would be nice if they made sure that the rest of us serfs could make the same choice.

Harlie
May 29, 2005, 10:42 PM
Judges stated that "We" should have at least as much training as a LEO. Yet they are receiving 5 hours. 40 + hours of academy training is the BASIC firearms training, judges should be required to pass a test, showing their competance, skill before carrying in court. Sheriff Hill is a repersenative of many in his position,"Only we are qualified" as LEO to uphold law and defend you. Yet they aren't required, nor posses the ability to protect the judges, let alone us, only the requirement to investigate the aftermath of our demise. Victor Hill should instead do all he can to assist these besieged judges to protect themselves and allow the rest of to have the capability to do the same. Fear those who fear the armed citizens.

Matthew748
May 30, 2005, 07:02 AM
Does anyone else think it is ironic that judges and politicians are grandstanding for the right to carry concealed, better personal security for themselves, etc. while encouraging average citizens to put their faith 100% in the police and accept the status quo. It does not fly with me. Plenty of people face dangerous situations and are often hampered by the effects of laws that these "do as I say, not as I do" politicians and pseudo-politicians pass. I see no reason to extend additional fringe benefits to the politically connected.

El Tejon
May 30, 2005, 12:27 PM
Matt, no irony, this is the way it has always been since time immemorial.

Joejojoba111
May 30, 2005, 10:05 PM
I think it's good, a judge is more easy to empathize with than a psuedo tactical-blue Rambo.

"Wow, judges are just ordinary people, if they can carry maybe I could too, and it wouldn't be wierd. I do have a lot of enemies from that competing business that went under/My EX gives me cause for concern/Some of my students are threatening/My neighbor was mugged a few blocks from home... I never considered ordinary NORMAL people carrying before. Hmm."

I kind of suspect that most sheeple are against carry because they're sheeple, and they respect peer pressure above all else. Remember that stat where death is the #2 fear, after public speaking? Maybe if firearms can be made 'normal' in any way, then peer pressure against being different (having one) will weaken. And it seems to me that judges and lawyers carrying would be a big step to normalizing firearms for defence (not just sporting or hunting).

StopTheGrays
May 31, 2005, 10:44 AM
Interesting side note from WI. In our state statutes concerning concealed carry it basically says only peace officers may do so. There is also an annotation which states that judges are not to be considered peace officers.

Now, I wonder how long it will take the judges in this state to get that last part changed? I also wonder if those same judges will change their opinion of CC for us once they decide they need it too? I will not hold my breath waiting to find out. :(




941.23 Carrying concealed weapon. Any person except a peace officer who goes armed with a concealed and dangerous weapon is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

941.23 - ANNOT.
Judges are not peace officers authorized to carry concealed weapons. 69 Atty. Gen. 66.

TonyB
May 31, 2005, 03:11 PM
Well I'm glad Judges can defend themselves in the courthouse..because the rest of us are sitting ducks....... :(
I guess when the shooting starts, you just hide behind the guy in the robe :banghead:

kbheiner7
May 31, 2005, 04:50 PM
Unless an attacker was at extremely close range in a court room, wouldn't he/she be firing directly at a whole bunch of people in the court room?

Sounds like a bad idea to me.

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