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Guns in the Courtroom

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  • Guns in the Courtroom

    Recently the county I live in adopted a new policy saying that sheriff deputies, acting as bailiffs, were no longer allowed to carry a sidearm while on-duty in the courtroom or while transporting the inmate to and from the jail to the courtroom. (In this particular county the court, jail, and sheriffs office are all in the same building.)

    Instead they are carrying their normal duty gear.(ASP,OC,Cuffs,etc.) Plus tasers and stun-guns.

    This was decided after an incident in a nearby county where an inmate attempted to take a deputies gun. It is supposed to make the courtroom safer.

    Law enforcement officers and DA investigators are allowed to carry in the courtroom while testifying but they are are trying to get them not to.

    Do you think this is a good idea ? Should it be that way in all courtrooms ? Would you agree to not carry a gun in such instances ?

  • #2
    It only works if everyone is checked for weapons before entering the courtroom, meaning bags are checked and scanned, people are pat searched etc. Most courts don't have the time or resources to do that. These rules will cause more problems in the long run. Some of our courts have this rule while others require you to bring your side arm. I personally don't feel very comfortable being in uniform without my duty weapon. Your a sitting duck and who do you think the judge is going to expect to do something when that lunatic wife/son/daughter/father/mother of the defendant comes in a decides to cap the judge or prosecutor for sending their father/husband/son to prison? Remember that rule don't bring a knife to a gunfight? Same goes for an asp, OC, and tazers.


    • #3
      Maybe that's why they are doing it then. There is only one entrance to the building that the public has access to. Everyone has to go through a metal detector manned by two deputies and have purses or briefcases searched.


      • #4
        Years ago in South Texas a large county decided that uniformed officers would not be allowed to carry in the courtroom.

        There was, of course, no secure place to leave the weapon, except the bailffs desk drawer in his office. [Eek!]

        It was deemed to be intimidating, but to whom I never knew.

        I ALWAYS carried my backup, as no one was searched prior to entering the courtrooms.


        • #5
          It's a foolish policy.
          Besides, just cause my holster is empty, don't mean I don't have a gun, or two on me. [Wink]


          • #6
            Sounds like a good way to make it into a 6 handle cedar chest. There are a lot of things that make it through the metal detector. Best of luck in changing the court's policy.


            • #7
              While I have heard of police officers being banned from carrying in courtrooms (it's that way for non-Federal LE in Federal Court, plus you can't carry in an LA County courtroom if you're there for non-official purposes), I've never heard of the bailiff himself/herself being prohibited from carrying.

              Personally, I think it's the stupidest idea I've heard of in awhile. Of all the people who need to be armed in the courtroom, it's the bailiff. He maintains order in that courtroom, and he is the judge's protector. While the testifying officer can be armed, that officer is only going to be in the courtroom for as long as he is needed.

              Obviously, whatever judge came up with this order has never experienced, or never seen video of, crazed defendants (and/or their friends/family) going bezerk in the courtroom. A few of these individuals have tried to go after the judge himself/herself due to a ruling they didn't like.


              • #8
                Several years back one of our very liberal judges had this same idea. She changed her mind after being mugged at her church. Evidentally she figured out that not everyone is as "loving" as she is.

                If I remember your location correctly, I thought you guys had a rule in place that you had to be on-duty to carry in the courthouse. I was there I think in '96 at a revocation hearing stemming from several stolen cars that showed up at a chopshop there. I didn't think they were going to let me in until I put my Glock away. Took a while before I finally talked my way in.


                • #9
                  The only time we cann't carry is when we are in divorce court concerning our divorce. I guess the judges are afraid we'll cap the ex's lawyer.


                  • #10
                    I could not find the article online so I sent an email to one of the local tv news stations. They sent me back the text that was used when the story aired on tv. I'm just gonna copy/paste it so it may look a little confusing....

                    11-20-02: COURTROOM SECURITY/217/6PM/01:50/
                    2-SHOT **KERRY**
                    IN CASES INVOLVING
                    ALLEGED MURDERS AND
                    REPORTED GANG MEMBERS,
                    SECURITY CAN BECOME A
                    MAJOR CONCERN AND
                    THAT'S WHY
                    DEPUTIES CAN BE SEEN
                    AT MOST SUCH TRIALS IN
                    WICHITA COUNTY.
                    BUT WHAT YOU WON'T
                    SEE ARE THEIR GUNS.
                    MICHALELEN TETTEH JOINS
                    WHY WERE GUNS for
                    law enforcement
                    officials BANNED FROM THE
                    CAM FOUR FULL ***MICHAELENE***
                    CHIEF DEPUTY CECIL
                    YODER SAYS LAST NOVEMBER
                    IN THE DENTON COUNTY
                    COURTHOUSE, AN ACCUSED
                    KIDNAPPER TRIED TO
                    GRAB A BAILIFF'S GUN,
                    JUST OUTSIDE THE
                    YODER SAYS THAT EVEN
                    THOUGH GUNLESS, THE
                    DEPUTIES ARE NOT UNARMED
                    (FROM MICHAELENE 1) OR UNPREAPRED..
                    IN THIS MURDER TRIAL,
                    #Wichita County Courthouse \31 DEPUTIES ARE
                    #today READY TO STOP
                    ANYONE FROM
                    DISRUPTING THE COURT,
                    OR THREATENING ANYONE IN
                    BUT NOT WITH
                    #Cecil Yoder \31 ***SOT***
                    #chief deputy we have less lethal
                    methods for controllinG
                    inmates, we have gas
                    tazers, stun guns.
                    ***END SOT***
                    THESE OFFICERS ARE
                    CARRYING TAZERS, A
                    WEAPON THAT DELIVERS
                    THOUSANDS OF VOLTS OF
                    ELECTRICITY TO ITS
                    CHIEF YODER SAYS
                    CARRYING WEAPONS LIKE
                    THE TAZER INSTEAD GUNS
                    MAKES IT SAFER FOR
                    a courtroom setting is
                    not the place for an
                    actual firearM to be
                    discharged, so a less
                    lethal weapon makes
                    MORE SENSE THAN MOST
                    PEOPLE THINK, HE SAYS.
                    IN LOOKING AT
                    STATISTICS NATIONWIDE,
                    YODER SAYS MOST OF THE
                    GUNS ENDING UP IN
                    SHOOTINGS OR THREATS
                    ARENT BROUGHT IN BY
                    SPECTATORS OR OTHERS.
                    THEY WERE
                    BROUGHT IN LAW
                    if the officer didn't
                    have a weapon that
                    weapon wouldn't be
                    available for someone to
                    take away from him.
                    ***END SOT**
                    YODER SAYS AT FIRST,
                    DEPUTIES WEREN'T
                    TOO HAPPY ABOUT
                    GIVING UP THEIR
                    GUNS IN THE COURTROOMS OR
                    TRANSPORTING PRISONERS
                    TO AND FROM THEM.
                    initially they were a
                    little apprehensive, but
                    I think now almost all of
                    them agree to it.
                    ***END SOT***
                    AND HE SAYS HE HOPES
                    THE PUBLIC WILL FEEL
                    SAFER TOO.
                    ---END PACKAGE--
                    CAM FOUR FULL **MICHAELENE**
                    POLICE OFFICERS STILL
                    CARRY GUNS IN THE
                    COURTROOM WHEN THEY COME
                    TO TESTIFY...AS DO
                    INVESTIGATORS FOR
                    THE DISTRICT
                    YODER SAYS THEY'RE
                    ENCOURAGING THE POLICE
                    DEPARTMENT AND THE D-A'S
                    OFFICE TO ADOPT THEIR
                    CAM FOUR DUAL **DOUG**


                    • #11
                      what a friggin' liberal slant to THAT story!!! I worked in News for 10 years. I would not have let a story air that was so one sided. BLECH.

                      These days a courthouse is one of the most dangerous places you can be. Hell, serving civil paperwork comes next...

                      When the time comes that we aren't allowed to carry in uniform, or off duty but testifying (we wear badge, cuffs, & gun) I'll be done, because I won't be testifying.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Evnings:
                        The only time we cann't carry is when we are in divorce court concerning our divorce. I guess the judges are afraid we'll cap the ex's lawyer.

                        Capping the ex's lawyer would be bad because?????????

                        [ 11-26-2002, 07:04 PM: Message edited by: OfcMikey ]


                        • #13
                          When I worked for a Florida SO, we were forbidden to carry firearms in court. Fortunately, I'm not in that situation with my current Tennessee judges. Tennessee may be bassackwards about a lot of things, but not THIS!


                          • #14
                            Wow, unbelieveable that some bailiff's aren't allowed to be armed in some places.

                            Seems like that rule would make a potentially dangerous situation worse.

                            The Bailiff's are ARMED at my local courthouse. Thank God. I was recently observing a trial were the accused got pretty nasty and I was glad for those bailiff's and their guns. Guess, that is life here in SoCal.

                            Take care


                            • #15
                              I really don't think it should be illegal to cap your ex's lawyer. After all, they are bottom feeders and all they want is to ruin your life.

                              The latest on my ex's attorney. He didn't notice that I get paid bi weekly instead of semi monthly. A subtle difference that makes a big difference in the child support payment. No wonder he is a convicted felon for Misapprorpiation of Fiduciary Funds, was disbarred, spent time in the slammer, and had to fight to get his license back. Seems he has a problem with money. If he cann't figure out a police officers pay scale and how to figure out the child support rate that is spelled out in the Family Code , he's really lacking something. Even I know how to determine the child support rate from the Family Code.

                              Oh well, enough of this rant about stupid lawyers.


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