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Congressman Scott Praises Passage of Court Security Improvement Act

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Scott Praises Passage of Court Security Improvement Act

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 660, the Court Security Improvement Act, which will further strengthen security measures for our nation's courts.

"In light of the 2005 deaths of three court officials at the Fulton County Courthouse, we must become more vigilant to the security of the men and women who facilitate court proceedings and ensure the rule of law in our country," Congressman Scott said.

"With the passage of this bill, we are taking the necessary steps to protect our judicial system's public servants from threats, intimidation and harm. I am particularly pleased this legislation bans not only firearms, but any dangerous weapon from courthouses. The bill also increases penalties against individuals who threaten officials and witnesses or file false liens against court officials as a means of harassment."

For retaliation crimes committed against witnesses or informants, the Court Security Improvement Act requires a minimum 30 year prison sentence for attempted murder, and a 20 year sentence for retaliatory acts that cause physical harm. For all federal crimes, this legislation increases maximum sentences for voluntary manslaughter to 20 years and involuntary manslaughter to 10 years. The Court Security Improvement Act also increases penalties for assaults, including a maximum 30 year sentence for assaults with a dangerous weapon.

The U.S. Marshals Service, which has the authority to protect federal judges and other judicial court officials, reports that threats to court officials have risen to over 600 per year, often requiring round-the-clock security detail. To ensure security needs are met and threats are mitigated quickly, the Court Security Improvement Act will improve communication between the Marshals and the Judicial Conference. This legislation also authorizes protection for federal tax court officials, instead of on an as-needed basis.

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