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Statutory Response to Court Security Concerns
AuthorWeller, Charles E.
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This paper proposes that legislation should be used to reduce the occurrence of courthouse violence. It begins with a review of what is known about the nature and costs of court targeted and non-targeted violence, drawing on published materials of the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the Center for Judicial and Executive Security, and others. Previously unpublished materials are also reported. Court security efforts made in response to the violence are described. In the absence of empirical studies of the effectiveness of court security laws, the paper suggests that theories of criminology be used as guides for assessing the effectiveness of existing legislation and formulating new legislation. Criminological theories, including classical theory, rational choice theory, strain theory, and routine activity theory are discussed as models appropriate for use in evaluating court security legislation. Existing state and federal laws on paper terrorism, including false liens and U.C.C. filings; address confidentiality programs; and enhanced punishments for crimes against those involved in the judicial process are described, catalogued, and analyzed.