- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 13, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly a decade after they presided over terrorism trials, two federal judges remain under 24-hour protection by deputy U.S. marshals, who complain their duties include carrying groceries and golf clubs.

Documents show that the security for U.S. District Judges Michael B. Mukasey and Kevin Thomas Duffy and their spouses far exceeds the protection given any other federal judge around the country, including the judge in Chicago whose husband and mother were slain earlier this month.

Experts and officials say the seemingly random approach to protecting judges in Chicago and New York reflects the complexity of assessing and responding to threats against the roughly 2,000 federal judges and magistrates nationwide, a job that falls on the U.S. Marshals Service.

There is no foolproof approach, said Howard Safir, the former New York City police commissioner, who once headed operations for the Marshals Service in the District.

“Threat analysis is an art, not a science,” said Mr. Safir, now head of the SafirRosetti security firm. “There’s no absolute way to determine whether a judge is in danger. … You tend to err on the side of providing protection.”

A personnel grievance recently obtained by the Associated Press gives a behind-the-scenes look at other potential problems.

The grievance — submitted by about three dozen deputies who help protect Judges Mukasey and Duffy around the clock — says the judges and their spouses have abused their position and compromised security by expecting their bodyguards “to carry groceries, luggage and golf clubs.”

If they object, the “protectees” subject them to “condescending comments,” it says.

Deputies “who are busy loading and unloading groceries clearly cannot immediately react to an attack,” the grievance says.

A Marshals Service spokeswoman, Nikki Credic, confirmed the grievance had been filed, but would not elaborate.

There was no comment from Judge Mukasey, who did not return phone messages left at his chambers on Friday. Judge Duffy declined to comment.

In a statement issued Friday, the service called judicial security its “most important task,” and insisted security decisions are “assessed on a case-by-case basis and in full consultation with the jurist or jurists at risk.”

In the Chicago case, security for U.S. District Joan Humphrey Lefkow was withdrawn with her concurrence after the conviction of a man who is awaiting sentencing for soliciting her murder, officials said.

Judge Mukasey, 64, the district’s chief judge, and Judge Duffy, 71, have a history of doling out tough talk and stiff sentences in terror cases.

In an interview earlier this year, U.S. District Judge William G. Young, who presided over the Boston trial of al Qaeda would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid, said most federal judges don’t want “to be surrounded by bodyguards wherever we go.”

However, judges should receive extra protection “as long as the threat exists,” he said. “I really think it should be the judge’s decision.”

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