In an essay of 400-600 words, discuss your ideas for how security in a courthouse or
Opportunities related to court security
The objective of this assignment is to enable you to demonstrate your understanding of problems and opportunities related to court security. Providing for appropriate security is a challenge faced by court administrators in an age of heightened concern about possible terrorism or other forms of violent outbreaks associated with court processes. Given the changes in court workloads as well as the growth in alternative mechanisms for resolving disputes (e.g., pre-trial meetings, out-of-court settlement conferences, informal settlements, or legal strategy conversations and mediations), judicial proceedings have spilled beyond the walls of the courtroom.
Here is a case in point: In the Los Angeles Superior Courts, a case may be called in one of the courtrooms but the judge may decide to order the parties to attempt to settle their differences prior to the case being heard in open court through a settlement conference or mediation. However, in most courthouses, the facilities for such conversations are virtually nonexistent.
For example, at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on West Temple Street in downtown Los Angeles, benches in hallways, a vacant jury room, or even a corner table in the cafeteria on the first floor are typical venues for these types of sessions. Although normal security procedures are in effect at the building entrances (e.g., X-ray machines, hand wands, armed L.A.
County Sheriff officers, CCTV cameras), courtrooms (e.g., court security officers), and for certain secured areas (e.g., electronic card access, CCTV cameras), officers are not on duty nor are cameras evident in every area where out-of-court meetings may occur. Given that many people who access a courthouse on any given day are angry or disgruntled and possibly have histories of violence, the spilling of court-related proceedings into nonsecure areas of the courthouse may be cause for concern from a security perspective. Yet, funds for expansion in security precautions are often limited and under most budget scenarios, court administrators who oversee facility security must manage this new wrinkle creatively.
- In an essay of 400-600 words, discuss your ideas for how security in a courthouse or justice center needs to be managed when proceedings are going on not only in courtrooms but also in other areas of the facilities, such as vacant jury rooms, attorney conference rooms, benches in hallways, other meeting rooms, the detention area, and even the cafeteria.
Include your thoughts about what your general security goals should be as well as your specific recommendations for addressing these types of situations, especially when limited available funds necessitate a clear prioritization of possible options.
Expert Answer and Explanation
Opportunities Related to Court Security
Courtrooms are often coupled with many emotions, especially because at the end of every ruling, there is one party that is likely to be completely dissatisfied with the verdict. Sometimes the complainant feels that the justice system is too lenient, while other times the defendant may feel that they are not entitled to huge punishments and penalties that are imposed on them. Very often, people react by throwing items at the judge, saying harsh words to the opposing parties, and even sometimes injuring the police officers around (Sinnar, 2018).
The bailiff is the law enforcement officer who oversees procedures in the courtrooms, and calms down individuals who may be reacting to the ruling given. The fact that informal settlements, pre-trial meetings, and legal strategy conversations have increased also means that bailiffs now have extended roles of maintaining order in court processes.
Security in a justice center or a courthouse can be managed by ensuring bailiffs perform numerous security checks to identify the possible risks of insecurity. When entering courtrooms, several items are prohibited for all individuals. These items include but are not limited to multi-tool blades and knives, concealable knives, butter and steak knives, metallic water cups and bottles, and buck type knives. While these restrictions may seem enough, I believe there is more that should be done to ensure the proper security set up of the courtrooms (Mulcahy & Rowden, 2019).
For example, there is need to immediately remove people who seem to be disruptive from the courtroom. Such individuals, if not removed from the sight can be the sources of distraction so that the bailiffs can divert their attention to them, only for the defendants or other individuals to inflict harm on the judge or other staff in the courtroom.
Screening before entry to the courtrooms should be done in a more detailed fashion than the regular metal detector in most court rooms. That is, individuals should be checked for the presence of firearms in their pockets, and should always leave their bags outside the courtrooms. When life-determining cases are being conducted, the screening process should be even more detailed with body scanning technology, as it is not surprising to find suicide bombers with explosives in their bodies (Rubino, 2017). Lastly, there is need to limit the number of individuals present in the courtrooms. While it is always open to hear the proceedings for all, a smaller number would be easier to manage in case of any violence.
Mulcahy, L., & Rowden, E. (2019). The Democratic Courthouse: A Modern History of Design, Due Process and Dignity. Routledge.
Rubino, W. (2017). Security requirements, modelling and analysis in a courthouse case study. ING School – School of Industrial and Information Engineering
Sinnar, S. (2018). Procedural Experimentation and National Security in the Courts. Calif. L. Rev., 106, 991.
Why is courtroom design and security important to our judicial process?
Courtroom design and security are crucial to our judicial process. Design affects proceedings’ efficiency, influencing factors like sightlines and acoustics. Security ensures safety, fostering trust in the legal system. Both elements uphold fairness, privacy, and order, integral for justice delivery.
Who is responsible for maintaining security in a courtroom?
The responsibility for maintaining security in a courtroom typically falls upon court personnel such as bailiffs, security officers, or law enforcement officials. Their duty is to ensure the safety of everyone present in the courtroom, uphold order, and respond to any security threats or disruptions that may arise during legal proceedings.
What is the purpose of the judicial personal safety checklist?
The purpose of the judicial personal safety checklist is to ensure the safety and security of judges, court personnel, and others involved in the judicial process. It typically includes guidelines and protocols for assessing and mitigating potential risks, such as threats or violence directed towards individuals associated with the court. By following this checklist, authorities can proactively address safety concerns and maintain a secure environment within the judicial system.
What is the role of the courts in our society?
The role of courts in our society is multifaceted and vital. Primarily, courts serve as institutions for administering justice and upholding the rule of law. They interpret and apply laws to resolve disputes, protect individual rights, and ensure accountability. Additionally, courts play a crucial role in maintaining order, fostering trust in the legal system, and providing a forum for fair and impartial resolution of conflicts. Overall, courts contribute to the stability, integrity, and functioning of society by promoting justice and safeguarding the rights of citizens.
What is a common criticism of the consensus model of criminal justice?
A common criticism of the consensus model of criminal justice is that it may overlook or downplay the diversity of values, interests, and perspectives within society. Critics argue that this model assumes a uniform agreement or consensus on what constitutes criminal behavior and appropriate punishment, which may not accurately reflect the complexities and variations in societal norms, cultural beliefs, and individual experiences. Additionally, some contend that the consensus model can lead to the marginalization or suppression of dissenting viewpoints and alternative approaches to justice, limiting opportunities for innovation and reform within the criminal justice system.
Who is the least informed member of the courtroom work group?
The least informed member of the courtroom work group is typically the defendant. Unlike other members such as judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and even jurors, the defendant may have limited access to legal knowledge and may rely heavily on their attorney for guidance and information regarding the legal proceedings and their rights within the courtroom.