Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth issued this statement following the release of the Justice Department Inspector General’s audit of the U.S. Marshals Service judicial security activities:
“It’s unconscionable that a mere 206 deputy U.S. marshals (p. 9) are assigned to protect the nation’s 2,700 federal judges outside of courthouses — especially as threats to judges have increased in recent years.
“But it shouldn’t have taken an IG report to raise the alarm on understaffing. Anyone who’s reviewed recent Marshals Service records — which Fix the Court has done via FOIA — would see deputies constantly being pulled from far-flung locales to fill in coverage gaps due to shortages in personnel.
“One concern, though, is the extent to which both the Marshals Service and the judiciary characterize ‘proactive threat detection’ as a panacea in this report and elsewhere. Though it can be an appropriate piece in a larger security policy, it must not become an indiscriminate and unaccountable program of domestic surveillance.”