In one county in Minnesota, two of three buildings housing courtrooms do not scan visitors’ belongings for weapons.
The judges presiding over those courtrooms and the law enforcement officers charged with protecting them and the community are hoping to change that.
Residents who visit those courtrooms frequently – or infrequently – undoubtedly hope so too.
As anyone involved with family court cases knows, they are stressful. Some people don’t handle that kind of stress well. At all.
Then there are criminal court cases. Ditto.
Then there are domestic violence cases, both criminal and civil order of protection cases. Enough said.
Court rooms with no security screening?
Hard to imagine. Or justify.
For judges, courthouse staff, attorneys and their staff and you, the people who have to go in front of the judge … or occasionally serve as jurors in certain types of cases.
We all hear about the relatively rare high profile, high impact incident of violence at a courthouse. Not all that common.
But those are just the tip of the iceberg.
Between 1970 and 2009, there were 199 incidents. 78 were in just the first decade of the 2000s.
In 2010 alone there were 11 incidents and in 2011 there were 13.
Courthouse violence is on the rise. Markedly so.
Less dramatic incidents are even more numerous.
Before you head to court, whether again or for the first time, you may wish to check out what sort of screenings, if any, the other visitors will be subjected to …
Read more in
- this Pioneer Press / Twin Cities article: Dakota County eyes increased security at two county buildings
- this National Center for State Courts report: Courthouse Security Incidents Trending Upward: The Challenges Facing State Courts Today
- this Center for Judicial and Executive Security report: Court-Targeted Acts of Violence