U.S. Supreme Court

Suspect Charged in Robbery of Justice Breyer; Thief Reportedly Looked More Nervous than Victims

Police have charged a man thought to be the machete-wielding robber who stole about $1,000 from Justice Stephen G. Breyer and three others in the Caribbean.

Vedel Browne, 28, turned himself in after seeing his photograph in media coverage of the Feb. 9 incident, report the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) and CNN. Breyer and his wife were playing bridge with friends at their home on the Caribbean island of Nevis when they were interrupted by the robber. Breyer’s sister-in-law, Mary-Anne Sergison-Brooke, told the Los Angeles Times that the thief “looked more nervous than we were.”

“Nevis is such a nice, friendly island,” Sergison-Brooke said. “We were never that worried.”

The Los Angeles Times story says justices spend much of their time away from Washington, D.C. “And Breyer, who speaks fluent French and is married to the daughter of a British lord, is the most frequent flier of a well-traveled group,” the story says. Breyer’s wife, Joanna, is a renowned pediatric psychologist, CNN says.

The justices meet just 80 times a year, and they do much of their work remotely. Since 2010, Breyer has traveled to Paris; Cambridge, England; Luxembourg; Marseille; and several U.S. cities. Outside Washington, Breyer and his family have homes in Cambridge, Mass.; New Hampshire and Nevis.

Security for Supreme Court justices varies by location, the New York Times reports. In Washington, the court’s security forces protect the justices. Away from D.C., justices are protected by the U.S. Marshals Service and local police.

The New York Times surmises security may be relatively light. “The nine justices often slip around Washington like ordinary citizens, causing barely a pause at stop signs, parties, supermarkets and houses of worship,” the story says.

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