Hennepin Co. Judge Demands More Courtroom Security

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Hennepin County judge wants more security in the courtroom. Until he gets it, Judge Lloyd Zimmerman says he won’t hear cases at three suburban courthouses.

It may be some time before his concerns can be addressed.

“It’s an issue that’s been on everybody’s plate for a long time,” said Chief Judge James Swenson, who presides over courts at the Hennepin County Government Center that have weapon screening, and three suburban locations that don’t.

Just weeks after a shooting incident in a St. Louis County courthouse, Swenson says most judges favor stronger security measures.

“They’re concerned with participants in court,” he said, “and they’re concerned with themselves. It’s not just about judges.”

In fact, an extra deputy was added at Brookdale last year, but Judge Lloyd Zimmerman wants more, saying he won’t work at the Brookdale, Southdale or Ridgedale courthouses until they get screening.

In an email, Zimmerman told colleagues, “I’m tired of driving to Brookdale, the courtroom everyone who knows agrees is the most likely place for a shooting or violence to occur, and not know whether I will be carried out in a body bag that day.”

“We did meet with county representatives on Tuesday,” said Swenson. “We did share the concerns of my colleague.”

However, screening takes money, for equipment, and the people to run it. So, they’re looking at a 16-week study to assess their needs. The consultants might recommend metal detectors at all courthouses, or even moving all domestic cases, which are the most volatile, to the Government Center downtown.

“These are highly nuanced decisions,” said Swenson, “that involve the interests of all sorts of justice partners.”

The study would cost $77,000. If it goes forward, they wouldn’t have long-term recommendations until mid-summer.

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Comments

One Comment

  1. Brett says:

    The judge is a coward. He should get a concealed carry permit, and pack a pistol in these potentially dangerous courtrooms. Can’t deal with the ‘heat’??
    RESIGN. Let him ‘earn’ a living elsewhere. Heck, he must think that he is ‘serving’ in AFGHANISTAN, or some other lawless land… Also doesn’t say much about his faith in Hennepin Co. Deputies…… Just goes to show, there is a LOT MORE CRIME in the crooklyn center/park area than the MASS MEDIA is willing to report….. So much for the ‘free’ press….

    1. Mike Barnes says:

      AMEN BROTHER!!!!!!!!!/….poor little judge

    2. Brett B. Bright says:

      Better a live chicken than a dead duck.
      Didn’t you learn that in grade school?

    3. Realist says:

      Wow. By not screening people before they enter the courtroom, all the deputies are good for is emergency response. Meaning they are only in a position to do something after the fact (i.e., shoot the perp after he shoots the judge/attorney/etc). The idea behind screening is to be proactive and prevent the weapon from ever entering the courtroom.

      Instead you went off on the judge for being a coward? You’re a dolt. The judge has every right to be concerned for the safety of everyone in his courtroom.

    4. rockysfan says:

      Really? Better pray to whatever god you believe in that you’re not in one of those courtrooms when someone armed with a gun goes ballistic. Everyone has a right to a safe work place!

    5. steve says:

      Imagine you are facing dozens of people angry at getting a ticket and having to pay for it. Revenge is on their mind. Gathered together in one place, at the same time, they are an itch waiting to explode. Society needs someone to prevent violent self-help (e.g. going “postal”). We call them judges, but often they are often like a referee at a boxing match resembling road rage. It’s a ugly job, a thankless job. A good judge relies on communication to reduce impulsive anger and let others feel listened to. A good judge prevents violence.

      People who label Judge Zimmerman as a ‘coward’ are looking into a mirror. They suggest he “pack heat” because they fear loss of their manhood without a weapon in their hands. A gun may protect on person – the packer: metal detection protects many more. I applaud the judge for the courage to stand up and speak for the other employees and witnesses who are daily put in jeopardy. He isn’t speaking merely for black robes, but all who deal with balancing the rights of society with the rights of individuals. For years, other judges have sat passively waiting for something to be done. Judge Zimmerman exposed the contradiction of protecting the main courthouse, while putting all the participants in the satellite courtrooms at risk. Anger arises from misdemeanor as well as felony charges.

      Budgets are always tight: spending money is always a question of priorities. A metal detector wand can be purchased for $100. Rather than spend $77,000 to study alternatives, the money should be invested in the policeperson’s wages. This would give us several months to budget for more protection for all who help society function as an alternative to the Wild West.

      Steve Heikens

  2. Judge Drudge says:

    Better perks downtown, 3 hours lunches, and better bars. This has nothing to do with security.

  3. Kevin says:

    This is absolutely ridiculous. Since when is a judge’s safety anymore important than my or anyone elses safety. I heard a car squeel its wheels near my home last week. Can I get a Highway Partol Officer to stand guard on my street everynight when I am driving home?

    If you put these metal detectors in the courthouse, then anyone who wants to shoot the judge isn’t going to be stupid enough to try and bring a gun into the courthouse. Rather, they will wait out in the parking lot, and all of the money used to build the metal detector setup will be wasted. Or, to put it another way, if somebody wants to get you, they will get you!!!!!

    Here is a man who acquiested to our country sending young men to Iraq and other places, only to have them come back in body bags, and he is whining about having to work out in Brookdale Courthouse!!!!

    Enough is enough. If he doesn’t want to do the job, fire him, and get somebody else who wants to do the job, which, by the way, pays well over $100,000 a year.

  4. tom says:

    Hire Bachman she loves guns and will need a job soon.

  5. Just Saying says:

    I had to apear in Chisago County Court this last summer over a speeding ticket, and was shocked to see no metal detector in use. Sitting in a courtroom, and getting shot by some nut who missed their intended target is something I do not look forward too.

  6. Kevin says:

    “getting shot by some nut who missed their intended target is something I do not look forward to”

    I guess that little boy who was killed last week in North Minneapolis could have said the same thing!!!!

    If you look at the statistics I believe you would find that one is far less likely to have any kind of harm done to them in a courthouse than virtually anywhere else, even with no metal detectors present.

    Do you also then want a fleet of cops in front of you and behind you when you drive to the courthouse, because I am sure that the highway is alot more dangerous than a courthouse without a metal detector?

    Where does it end, this business of people in power spending the general public’s money to protect their own backsides without making sure that everyone else gets the same level of protection.

    As the fellow said above, let the judge carry a handgun on the bench and protect hs own self, just like everyone else has to do.

    1. Just Saying says:

      Wonderful solution, now you have me in a crossfire, Thanks!

      1. James says:

        Don’t go outside then. Live indoors like a coward or hang out with the cowardly Judge if you can’t handle the daily risks of living like the rest of us. I went to the middle-east, I didn’t have metal detectors to send everyone through before I encountered them, but then again I was functioning as a true “Public Servant” not a Cowardly King needing to have my backside guarded. Whatever happened to the land of the free, home of the brave? I came home to neither!

  7. Just Saying says:

    Says who?

  8. Tom says:

    Please just quit if you won’t do the job. No one in the public sector can make those kind of demands. Who do you think you are you arogant ass. Really, like anyone else if you chose to not do your job you won’t get paid. We should all be sick to deathe of these arogant public employees

  9. pretzeldude says:

    Spend the $77,000 on security equipment instead of a study that will tell you that security equipment is needed. No wonder the gov. is hurting for money when the $$$$$$ are spent for studies to tell them what they already know.

  10. jonah says:

    Poor baby. Can I not got to court for petty victimless crimes if I wear a funny black cistume to?

  11. Murph says:

    They shouldn’t let wussies be judges ! Or poor idiots vote for the GOP! Neither of these mentioned groups has the brain power to make rational decisions!

  12. MT says:

    Are you guys idiots? I try to avoid making comments to stories but your feedback has infuriated me. Instead of applauding this judge for standing up and making waves about the lack of security in a courthouse, you’re calling him weak and cowardly. His concerns should be YOUR concerns. If the story read that there was a shooting in a courtroom where 3 people were killed before deputies were able to capture the suspect because there was no metal detector, you would be infuriated! That’s because that could’ve been you! Your “solution” about the judge packing heat himself is no solution at all–as one poster commented, now people are caught in the crossfires. Courties are (or should be) responsible for providing security–it’s time this county steps up and takes care of the problem.

    1. Realist says:

      Well said, MT.

    2. AZ in the House says:

      As a Second Amendment advocate, I think guns should be allowed in courthouses. What better place for packing heat then in a place used in taking it away! Judges, jurors, lawyers, everyone should be packin’.

    3. JOSE0311USMC says:

      I BEEN COMPLAINING ABOUT THE LACK OF SECURITY ON THE SOUTH BORDER FOR YEARS…JUDGES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LACK OF SECURITY IN ARIZONA–ALABAMA. JUDGES STOPPED ARIZONA AND ALABAMA FROM MAKING THEIR TOWNS MORE SECURE…I HATE JUDGES.

  13. Aaron Eisenstadt says:

    Isn’t there a violation of speedy-trial or some such laws if judges don’t take cases?

    1. Pattysboi says:

      Right to a speedy trial does NOT apply here. It’s only if the trial is postponed indefinitely for whatever reason. I applaud this judge for being brave enough to say what he means!

  14. Victor Morales says:

    A 16 week study? Just buy 4 hand wand metal detectors a be done with it.

  15. JOSE0311USMC says:

    I WANT MORE BORDER SECURITY I DON’T FEEL SAFE….ARIZONA AND ALABAMA CITIZENS DON’T FEEL SAFE , LET THEM ENFORCE THE IMMIGRATION LAWS..IT WAS A JUDGE THAT RULED AGAINST THEM… ALL ARIZONA AND ALABAMA WAN IS TO ENFORCE THE IMMIGRATION LAWS IN THE BOOKS, BUT 2 IDIOT JUDGES SAID NO. WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND. NO MORE SECURITY FOR JUDGES.

  16. JB says:

    LIVING IN THE COMM. OF ,MASSACHUSETTS WERE HANDGUNS ARE ILLEGAL AND METAL DETECTORS ARE IN USE AT ALL COURTS WE DON’T HAVE YOUR PROBLEM. THE JUDGE ISN’T THE ONLT ONE AT RISK. WITNESSES AND VICTIMS ARE IN THOSE COURTROOMS AND ARE THE MOST AT RISK. IF COURTROOMS ARE NOT SAFE IT WILL BE NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TP ENFORCE THE LAW. THE ANSWER IS NOT TO ARM EVERYONE THAT’S THE PROBLEM. THANK YOU ARA

  17. SG says:

    The judge knew the rists and situation when he decided to run for this offiice. I agree that there should be a safer workplace, but the judge’s activities feel an aweful lot like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Fire him & find someone that will do the job this judge signed up for.

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