Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

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Courtroom Security, Terror Version

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | January 31, 2010

Posted by Cliff Tuttle © 2010

Courthouses and courtrooms are increasingly being built for security, but no courthouse in America fits the requirements of the 9/11 bomber trials. For one thing, courthouses have multiple courtrooms, multiple trials and other public offices on the premises.  In cities, they are in the middle of high rise offices and bustling commercial districts.  In small towns, they are at the center of  main street, with shops and other business establishments (including lawyer’s offices) arrayed around them.

The fact is inescapable that the kind of security required for a high profile terror trial (or any terror trial) would continuously disrupt the lives of everyone who is required to enter and exit the security perimeter on a regular basis.   But there is more than delay and annoyance involved.  Security forces, set on a hair pin trigger to prevent acts of terror, may actually misjudge a situation and roughly apprehend or even shoot a non-terrorist.  Such events occur from time to time in ordinary police activity, one was being discussed on Pittsburgh talk shows this past week.

In order to have the kind of security that a terror trial demands, people with other business of any kind must be totally excluded from the security perimeter.

Thus, the building to house a trial with the highest security would, of necessity, be a prison. So where is there a prison with both state of the art highest security and courtroom facilities?

Back to Guantanamo.

Whatever the political and symbolic drawbacks, it is safe.

Plan B: Alcatraz.

Plan C: Antarctica.

Plan D: The Moon.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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