The United States Marshals Service Judicial Security Process

Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2007-010
September 2007
Office of the Inspector General

Purpose, Scope, and Methodology of the OIG Review

In this review, we examined the USMS’s progress since our March 2004 report in improving its capability to collect, analyze, and disseminate information and intelligence related to protecting the judiciary. This review also assessed the progress the USMS has made in implementing corrective actions to address the recommendations made in our March 2004 report. Lastly, this review examined the status of initiatives or organizational changes that the USMS has recently undertaken to improve its capacity to identify and respond to threats and provide protection to the judiciary, including the installation of home alarms for judges.

As described below, the methodology used in this review included interviews of USMS personnel and members of the judiciary. We also conducted surveys of all federal judges and all Judicial Security Inspectors. We attended a protective investigative training course conducted by the USMS. We also reviewed USMS reported threat data and documents related to judicial security.


To examine the USMS judicial security efforts and activities, we interviewed USMS officials from headquarters, the JSD, and the Investigative Services Division. We also interviewed officials outside of the USMS. In total, we interviewed 29 individuals.

At the USMS headquarters, we interviewed the USMS Director, the Deputy Director, and the Chief of Staff. At the JSD, we interviewed the former and current Assistant Directors, the Deputy Assistant Director for Judicial Services, and the Deputy Assistant Director for Judicial Operations. Within the OPI, we spoke with the former and current Chiefs of the OPI; the Assistant Chief, Investigations Branch; two analysts and one Inspector assigned to the Investigations Branch; the Assistant Chief, Intelligence Branch; the Joint Terrorism Task Force Coordinator; and three Inspectors designated as liaisons to task forces assigned to the Intelligence Branch. We interviewed three Chief Inspectors assigned to the former Operational Support Team. We also interviewed the Assistant Chief, Office of Courthouse Management, responsible for the Home Intrusion Alarm Initiative. At the Investigative Services Division, we interviewed the Deputy Chief of the Technical Operations Group and the Chief of its Tactical Support Branch.

Outside of the USMS, we interviewed the federal judge who currently chairs the U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Security and the federal judge who formerly chaired the U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on Security and Facilities. At the Administrative Office of United States Courts (AOUSC), we interviewed the Assistant Director, Office of Facilities and Security, and the Chief and the Deputy Chief of the Court Security Office.


The OIG surveyed all federal judges and 82 Judicial Security Inspectors assigned to USMS district offices.

Judicial Survey

With the cooperation of the AOUSC and the federal judiciary, we conducted a voluntary web-based survey that was e-mailed to 2,141 federal judges. Prior to distributing the survey, we received comments or suggested additions from the USMS, the AOUSC, and 10 federal judges serving on the Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Security. The OIG conducted the survey to obtain the federal judiciary’s views and opinions on the current status of security provided to federal judges. The OIG also sought judicial observations and perspective that would provide the USMS with ideas, methods, or data for improving judicial security. The survey contained 29 questions. The survey period started on October 16, 2006, and ended on November 3, 2006. Of the 2,141 federal judges, a total of 705 (32 percent) responded.22 The judicial survey results appear in Appendix II.

Judicial Security Inspector Survey

We also conducted a telephone survey of 82 of the 92 USMS district Judicial Security Inspectors.23 The survey instrument asked for each Judicial Security Inspector’s perspective regarding various policies and procedures on threat investigations, protective details, and the information they received from the OPI concerning judicial threat investigations and security operations. The survey contained 73 questions. The survey period started on November 24, 2006, and ended 4 days later. The Judicial Security Inspector survey results appear in Appendix III.

Site Visits

We attended the 40-hour USMS Protective Investigations Training Program course conducted at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in August 2006. The course content was designed to provide Judicial Security Inspectors and District Threat Investigators instruction in areas such as protective investigation policy and new USMS directives; overviews of various USMS entities and their capabilities; reporting requirements; and threat management strategies.

Data and Document Reviews

We reviewed and analyzed reported threat data maintained by the USMS in its WIN/JDIS database for FYs 2005, 2006, and the first half of FY 2007.24 After selecting a random sample from each fiscal year, we reviewed the data to determine USMS adherence to its revised timeliness standards for threat assessments. To calculate timeliness, we identified the date that the OPI received the threat from the date embedded in the assigned warrant number for each case and counted the number of days between that date and the date when the OPI provided the district office with the assessment results. Weekends and holidays were removed for the analysis. The USMS’s established time standards, depending on the level of threat, were used as the criteria for determining timeliness.

We also reviewed relevant USMS Directives, policies and procedures, manuals, training materials, clearance rosters, and examples of OPI information products.

  1. The total number of judicial responses was well above the 327 required for statistical validity, based on a confidence level of 95 percent and a confidence interval (margin of error) of ±5 percent.

  2. Two of the 94 district positions were vacant at the time of our survey. While we contacted all 92 Judicial Security Inspectors, 10 did not respond to the survey.

  3. We did not analyze the threat data for FY 2004 because the USMS used a different timeliness standard then.

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