Citing weapon risks, Hennepin County judge says no to 3 courtrooms

  • Article by: ABBY SIMONS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 5, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Judge Lloyd Zimmerman said officials refused to heed his requests to have courtroom visitors screened for weapons.

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sunnyreaderJan. 4, 1210:29 PM

Given the frequency of shots fired in the Brooklyn Park - Brooklyn Center area, some additional security makes a lot of sense, especially at the Brookdale service center.

sjhuotJan. 4, 1211:02 PM

We tend to be really bad at accurately assessing risk. How many judges have been shot in Minnesota courtrooms? I may be wrong, but I can't remember one. He is probably more at risk driving to the courtroom than being in it.

avidreader24Jan. 4, 1211:03 PM

As a longtime officer at Brookdale I thank you for running this article. A $77,000 study for how to implement security is an enormous waste of taxpayer dollars. Who authorized such a waste of funds and time? I can see why people support small government in light such blatant misuse of elected office and public funds. In my 22 years of experience my opinion on lack of screening in the courts has not once been solicited. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine that simple screening with metal detectors will prevent such atrocities like the shooting referenced in Judge Zimmerman's article. Why not use the $77,000 to implement improved security measures rather than hire a consultant to be told what we already know? This is a classic example of bureaucratic power mazes and waste of taxpayer dollars standing in the way of the public good. I am a father of 3 young boys and am sick of going to work every day without the proper support and infrastructure to do my job effectively which puts my life and those of others at risk unnecessarily.

stryper1961Jan. 4, 1211:43 PM

they WASTE $70,000 for a consulting firm to know how they can provide BASIC SECURITY in the court rooms?....the person(s) who approved this wasteful spending should emmediately be identified and terminated....a 9th grader could offer up a basic security proposal which entails one guard with a wand and a metal screener just like downtown....WHY DO THEY HAVE TO SPEND TAXPAYER MONEY AT $70,000+ TO BE TOLD THIS?.....are these people that dam stupid?.....this is detestable and every courthouse should now have these kind of safeguards without question and NOW.....

scottkyJan. 5, 1212:16 AM

Here is a free suggestion - Do we really need courtrooms for Hennepin County other than downtown Minneapolis? Maybe we should close the "Dales" locations.

lawyerguyJan. 5, 1212:27 AM

I have no problem with enhanced security if ALL county employees, including judges, have to go through the same security screening as the public. The security screening process at the Government Center is worse than the airport. Yet county employees saunter unmolested through a special entrance. Most of the people injured in court shootings in Minnesota have been attorneys, yet all private attorneys are still screened even though no attorney has erupted in any Minnesota court facility. In contrast, one Hennepin county judge took a disability retirement after a series of violent episodes, another was subject to a judicial complaint due to his tantrums, a group of clerks were dealing drugs at the Government Center and a husband/wife city/county attorney were also dealing drugs on the side. Yet each of them gets a magic card to bypass security while the rest of us wait in line like sheep. I can assure you if these people had to suffer the same inconvenience they impose on the public the screenings would end very quickly. As an aside, retired Judge Peter Albrecht always waited in line with the public since he felt it unfair for county workers to bypass the security screening process.

minn12Jan. 5, 12 1:37 AM

Look, everyone wants better security, but this story lacks key information. Does this judge even HAVE the authority to refuse to work at that location? Is he somehow above the law? If he does not have the authority to refuse an assignment, then why is he not being disciplined or suspended? Anyone else who works in that building could say the same thing, but if they refused to go to work there, they would be fired. Unless further info comes out, it would appear this judge is simply on a one-man strike at Brookdale courts, in an arrogant attempt to try to force his will on getting screening there. Sorry, either meet your assignments there like the other judges, or resign.

jerat544Jan. 5, 12 5:20 AM

Really? $77000?? That's a lot of thoughtfulness..I agree that a 9th grader could have made a better more"logical" decision than spending $77000 on a study that is at best a total waste of money

robdoarJan. 5, 12 5:22 AM

There's no need to worry anyone, Hennepin county already has a court order banning weapons in courthouses. Thankfully so, remember all of those courthouse shootings that plagued in the metro area?

RossbergJan. 5, 12 6:02 AM

He has a right to be concerned about his own safety although he probably should consider returning to private practice since there will always be risks inherent in any judge's job. However, he crossed the line when he asked others to show support for his cause by refusing to work there. Joining him in protest to those responsible for security is reasonable but essentially what he's encouraging is a shutdown of the judicial system at those locations until his personal demands are met. That's grounds for removal from office.


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