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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 118444 Find in a Library
Title: Courtroom Security: The International Scene
Journal: Security Management  Volume:33  Issue:6  Dated:(June 1989)  Pages:43-46
Author(s): H Safir
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 4
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article presents findings from the author's (an associate director of the U.S. Marshals Service) onsite visits to France and Italy to assess court security for terrorist trials (France) and Mafia trials (Italy).
Abstract: In France, only the most competent and best-trained gendarmes are assigned court security duties. During the trial of George Abdullah, an Arab terrorist, the police closed the streets to traffic around the courthouse, and the surrounding apartment buildings were carefully watched. Special countersniper squads were on strategic rooftops throughout the trial. Four separate checkpoints were established from the street to the courtroom. Only 30 approved people were permitted in the gallery, and only those members of the press who regularly covered the courts were allowed in the courtroom. Between 40 and 50 armed gendarmes formed a ring around the perimeters of the courtroom. The use of a large number of officers balanced the lack of technical equipment. In Italy, there are three primary national police forces, and all three had some jurisdiction in the trial of Mafia figures. For the trial, a reinforced courtroom called "the bunker" was used. It has a 15-ft. high, reinforced steel fence around the entire complex. Bulletproof glass is interspersed between the fence pickets. Around the outside of the fence, large numbers of officers with automatic weapons were stationed. There were four screening points, and the courtroom itself was liberally furnished with surveillance equipment and armored protective shields for court personnel and defendants. This article draws lessons for United States court security.
Main Term(s): Court security
Index Term(s): France; Italy; Organized crime; Terrorism prosecution
Note: This article originally appeared in the July 1987 issue of "The Pentacle."
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