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Constitutional Law

After Courthouse Attack, Judges and County Officials Battle for Right to Make Security Decisions

Posted Apr 13, 2012 11:17 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Before a judge was stabbed and a sheriff's deputy was shot at a Washington state courthouse last month, superior court judges in Grays Harbor County had sued over what they said was inadequate security there.

But after the March 9 attack the judges ordered that at least two armed sheriff's deputies be present in the courthouse daily. They also ordered a metal detector, KOMO reports .

That didn't sit well with those in charge of the county's budget. The courthouse had none of these security measures in place when, authorities said, suspect Steven Kravetz attacked Deputy Polly Davin and shot her with her own firearm, allegedly stabbing Judge Dave Edwards when he came to her aid. However, county officials said they would have done what was needed to protect the courthouse regardless of what the judges ordered and pointed out that the judges don't have the responsibility for managing the county's spending, according to the article.

Both Edwards and Davin are now back at work. Kravetz, 34, is jailed in lieu of $900,000 bail and facing four felony counts including attempted murder, as the Daily World details.

Meanwhile, the judges and county officials are facing off in a litigation battle over court security decision-making.

"We are not bad guys," Grays Harbor County Commissioner Mike Wilson told KOMO. "We are the people who have to make the final decisions on how the money is spent in this county."

Regardless of the result in the litigation, it is sure to add to the county's costs, the article notes.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Judge Stabbed, Deputy Shot at Wash. State Courthouse; Judges’ Recent Suit Alleged Security Issues"

ABAJournal.com: "Judge Warned in 2007 That Suspect Arrested Last Week in Wash. Courthouse Attack Could Be ‘A Threat’"

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