Our blog has moved, and is new and improved.

You should be automatically redirected in 3 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Appellate judges remain insecure

I am amazed every time I walk into the Minnesota Judicial Center at the total lack of adequate security. There are no metal detectors; there is no bag screening. You just walk through an unlocked door, breeze by the receptionist and stroll free as you like to the courtroom to hear, for example, an appeal argued in a first-degree murder case. There sitting before you is the entire state Supreme Court. You suddenly reach into your bag and pull out ... a reporter's notebook! But you get the idea, that could just have easily been a weapon, and I don't think those robes would have afforded the justices much protection.

Minnesota Lawyer ran a story this week on the attempt to beef up security at the state's appellate courts. ("Appellate courts await more security," subscriber password required.) The Legislature in its wisdom saw fit to nix from the courts' budget the $500,000 needed to fund the metal detectors. However, to take a phrase from Monty Python's Holy Grail, the idea is "not quite dead yet." The courts are looking at creative ways to squeeze out the funding they need and many think they will do it given the importance of this issue.

But, of course, even if that is the case, that means the courts will lose $500,000 out of another pocket. Given all that is going on in the world in general and in our courts in particular, it is perplexing to me why security was treated so cavalierly by lawmakers in the budgeting process.

Artist's rendering of proposed metal detector in Judicial Center

No comments: