Courthouses can be vulnerable to acts of violence because they are located in accessible and centralized locations. Courts need proper security procedures, technology, personnel and facilities to protect people, property and the integrity of the judicial process. Advocates say that while there is no one solution to all courthouse security problems, court administrators must have emergency management plans in place and be prepared to collaborate with law enforcement and emergency agencies during a crisis.
Some people believe television coverage of court proceedings, including criminal trials, would help Americans better understand this part of our judicial process. They also say broadcasting court proceedings will allow Americans to observe public trials without having to travel to the courthouse. Televised-trial opponents claim TV coverage is often shallow and preoccupied with sensationalism. They say cameras will detract from the reverence of trial proceedings.
Although the overwhelmingly vast majority of our judges are beyond reproach, there are occasional cases of judicial misconduct. Judicial misconduct occurs when a judge acts in a way that is considered unethical or violates the judge’s obligations of impartiality. These actions include prejudicial conduct, accepting bribes, obtaining special treatment for friends or relatives, maltreatment of litigants or attorneys, and violating other mandatory standards of judicial conduct. A judicial investigative committee is a panel of judges convened to investigate a judicial misconduct complaint. However, these committees are very rare. Only 18 of the nearly 1,500 judicial misconduct complaints filed in our Courts between 2004 and 2007 resulted in the formation of a judicial investigative committee.
S.445 & H.R.953 – Courthouse Safety Act of 2013
S.405 & H.R.917 – Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2013
S.575 & H.R.1203- Judicial Transparency and Ethics Enhancement Act of 2013
I oppose reforming current courtroom policy and wish to defeat S.445 & H.R.953, S.405 & H.R.917 and S.575 & H.R.1203
I support carrying out a training and technical assistance program to teach employees of state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies how to anticipate, survive, and respond to violent encounters during the course of their duties, including duties relating to security at state, county, and tribal courthouses; improving safety and security in state and local courts; giving local courts access to excess federal security equipment, including metal detectors and screening equipment, and wish to pass S.445 & H.R.953
I support authorizing the presiding judge of a U.S. appellate court or U.S. district court to permit the photographing, electronic recording, broadcasting, or televising to the public of court proceedings over which that judge presides, except when such action would constitute a violation of the due process rights of any party, and wish to pass S.405 & H.R.917
I support establishing the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Judicial Branch of the U.S. government, to be headed by an Inspector General appointed by the Chief Justice; requiring the OIG to: conduct investigations of alleged misconduct in the judicial branch, including the Supreme Court; conduct and supervise audits and investigations; and prevent and detect waste, fraud, and abuse, wish to pass S.575 & H.R.1203