Local Judges Threatened

" Right after Christmas last Christmas, in 2007, I received a written death threat which made the same false allegation Mr. Mack had made about me. The intended writer said he would finish the job Mack had started."

That was Judge Chuck Weller's testimony last friday at the sentencing of Darren Mack. And while it appears the threat of this defendant has been addressed. The threat to local judge's and their families has not.

Connie Steinheimer is the Chief Judge of Washoe Disttrict Court.

"Since the beginning of the year when I took over as chief judge we have received 6 credible threats against judicial officers in this district alone."

Steinheimer says those threats are not relegated to one court or one judge. They are across the board on all levels of the judiciary, and probably reflect was is going on nationwide.

Last Friday Judge Doug Herndon was escorted from the courthouse safely to his hotel room. This is not common practice but apparently Washoe Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement believed the move was necessary during the Mack Sentencing proceedings.

Chances are this won't be standard operating procedure for all judges once local law enforcement comes up with the threat protocol package. But we do know policies and procedures will be set up for a uniform code to respond to threats to the judiciary.

The federal court system already has such a program. And can tell us how many threats there were to federal judges nationwide as well as right here in Nevada. Judge Steinheimer says such information would be helpful here in Washoe County, but we don't have information like that..

"Where it becomes helpful is getting funding and putting resources. You, we all live in a world with limited funds. And it is always allocated based on need. And numbers create the information we need to determine whether or not we have a greater need than we did last year." Steinheimer says.