101 Ways to Save a Judge

The following is a list of miscellaneous things that a judge can do, or avoid doing, that will enhance personal security. Many of the suggestions are very elementary and are just plain common sense. Many can be used by anyone concerned with their own personal safety.

  • Do not reserve your parking space with a sign that says "Judge" or your name.

  • Do not have a personalized license plate with your name, or one that says "Judge" on It.

  • Do not drink from glasses or water pitchers that have been left unattended in the courtroom on the bench.

  • Do not have a listed or published telephone number and address.

  • Do not display photographs of your family members in your office where visitors can see them—turn them towards you.

  • Do not announce to the public that you are going out of town for vacation, school or business.

  • Do not place your residence address on any campaign material.

  • Do not have heavy or sharp objects on the bench or your desk where others can grab them.

  • Do not answer your door (any door) without knowing who is on the other side. (By way of a peephole, or by audible recognition.)

  • Do not use the title "Judge" on your personal checks, credit cards, airline tickets, etc.

  • Do not use a street address on your personal mail return address if you can use a post office box address.

  • Do not put your name on your return address if you use a residence street address and deposit your mail in outgoing office mail.

  • Do not announce your name and phone number on the outgoing message of your home answering machine.

  • Do not volunteer personal information to strangers or identify yourself as a judge. If asked, identify yourself as an attorney, a government employee, etc.

  • Do not be paranoid, but be aware if someone is staring at you or following you in a place other than the courthouse.

  • Do not allow strangers to overhear your personal telephone calls.

  • Be aware of the insecurity of cellular telephone communication.

  • Do not enter your vehicle without first examining the interior and looking for any signs of hidden persons or unauthorized tampering with the vehicle.

  • Do not allow anyone to approach the bench without first asking for and receiving your permission.

  • Do not ride in parades unless there are provisions made for security and crowd control.

  • Do not become physically involved in the subduing, chase or apprehension of disorderly persons or escapees.

  • Do not leave a pistol or other personal protection weapon unsecured in your chambers or on your bench.

  • Do not sit on or behind a bench that is not elevated.

  • Do not sit on a bench that does not have steel plates to stop bullets.

  • Do not run from the bench if shooting begins. Drop behind it and lie fiat. To run is often to expose yourself and cause the assailant to chase you down.

  • Do not run into the hallway if you hear gunshots in the courthouse. Seek immediate cover and have your chambers and courtroom secured.

  • Do not try to get up if you have been wounded. Either play dead or unconscious. Wait for help. Do not invite another shot.

  • Do not use an audible duress alarm that will force a person to quickly "flee or fight." (They are then forced to an immediate decision which is probably going to be fight!) Use a silent alarm.

  • Do not hesitate to request additional security for a high-risk trial or a high-risk person.

  • Do not allow public access to your mail room

  • Do not issue combination lock codes or building keys without keeping records and periodically changing codes and locks.

  • Do not allow disruptive persons to remain in your courtroom if you can have them legally removed.

  • Do not be afraid to visualize court security problems and think about what you can do to reduce the risks and what options are available to you if an incident occurs.

  • Know emergency evacuation routes from the building you are in.

  • Know the safest places to go if you must remain in the building during an emergency.

  • Do not leave file cabinets, desk drawers, briefcases, etc. unlocked when you leave your office.

  • Do not leave valuable or sensitive papers in sight and unlocked when you leave your office. This is especially important if building maintenance or cleaning persons will be entering during your absence.

  • Do not be quoted in the news in such a manner as to make the public think you fear violence nor that you think you are not a risk. Such quotes can be taken either as an invitation or as a challenge.

  • Do not allow the news media to show photographs of your family or your residence after there has been an incident of court-related violence.

  • Do not allow the media to learn the names, ages, or schools of your children.

  • Do not wear shirts or caps that identify you as a judge while out in public.

  • Do not be reluctant to ask for (demand) more money and/or personnel for court security.

  • Do not think that just because you have never had court violence that it will never happen.

  • Do not assume a duress alarm is in working condition. Have it tested regularly.

  • Do not allow intoxicated persons to enter or remain in court facilities.

  • Do not allow anyone to close the door to your chamber other than you, your staff, or someone you have directed to do so.

  • Do not appear at campaign fund raising events unless you have arranged for security. Consider control of admission by invitations, or limited ticket sales or distribution.

  • Do not take magazines to the courthouse until after you have removed any mailing labels containing your name and address.

  • Do not forget to wear your judicial robe in the courtroom. it will normally command respect, and like a police uniform, it will make you more difficult to recognize off the bench when you have removed your robe, i.e., your "uniform."

  • Do not transport your judicial robe in your automobile by hanging it up unless it is covered with colored paper or plastic to disguise it. If not covered, lay it flat in your back seat or trunk.

  • Do not personally post or remove your campaign signs if you can have someone else do it for you.

  • Do not campaign door-to-door alone.

  • Do not overdo it with your campaign signs at your residence or bumper stickers on your personal vehicles.

  • Be aware that judges killed or wounded did not go to work or home thinking they would be attacked. Be aware

  • Do not hesitate to move a high-risk court case to a high-security courtroom elsewhere.

  • Do not address a party with a tone of anger or sarcasm in your voice.

  • Do not open unlabelled packages or gifts delivered to your home or office.

  • Do not keep or carry a weapon unless it is in proper working condition and you have been trained in the correct use of it.

  • Do not forget to teach your staff and your family what you have learned about judicial security.

  • Do not let your guard down at home. Practice good security techniques.

  • Do not allow architects to design your courtroom chambers or courthouse without receiving security input.

  • Do not allow budgets to be prepared without providing for court security.

  • Do not operate your court without "rules of Courtroom Decorum" that are prominently posted and vigorously enforced.

  • Do not discard sensitive materials or information in your home or office trash in a legible form that could be read by scavengers.

  • Do not photocopy sensitive data without accounting for each original and each copy.

  • Do not forget to have a Personal and Family Protection Profile secured in your office and also filed with a law enforcement agency so it can be used in an emergency, hostage, or kidnapping situation.

  • Do not update any photographs that may be on file with the news media or the government if you can avoid it. An exception is the photograph that should accompany the Personal and Family Protection profile which is confidentially maintained.

Adopted from EFB Task Group on Public Perceptions of Biotechnology