A federal marshal’s fatal shooting of a defendant who lunged at a witness with a pen in a Salt Lake City, Utah courtroom (see Gavel Grab) is a reminder of the ever-present possibility of courthouse attacks, a federal judge told the Associated Press.
“You can’t be a judge very long without having a trial that presents concerning situations,” U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman of Seattle, Washington said. “We handle them by talking them through with the marshals. … This sounds like something that could have happened at any courthouse, at any time.”
The Utah courthouse opened its doors just last week with numerous security improvements over older courthouses. The AP article was headlined, “Courthouse violence unpredictable despite security.”
Meanwhile a Des Moines (Iowa) Register editorial mentioned the Utah shooting as it called for the legislature to help counties foot the bill for court security improvements around the state.