DATE: March 29, 2005       CONTACT:

Laura Kiernan
Judicial Branch
Communications Director
603-271-2646 ext 359







    CONCORD—A newly appointed Supreme Court "Task Force on Court Security" will meet March 31, 2005 at 2 p.m. to begin a statewide assessment of security needs in the state courts, including prisoner transport, courthouse safety and standards and training for security personnel. The task force meeting will be held at the Supreme Court building in Concord.

    Chief Justice John T. Broderick Jr. consulted with the Governor’s office and House and Senate leadership in assembling the task force, which will be chaired by Associate Supreme Court Justice Richard E. Galway, who served for 9 years as a trial court judge, and Earl M. Sweeney, the former director of N. H. Police Standards and Training who is now assistant commissioner of the Department of Safety.

    The Chief Justice said plans to establish the security task force, which had been underway, gained added importance following the March 11, 2005 courthouse shooting in Atlanta, Ga.

    "In view of our ongoing interest in court security which has been substantially heightened by recent national events, it is appropriate and timely to assess current circumstances and future needs," Chief Justice Broderick said. "The Supreme Court wants the task force to make sure we are doing everything we can to guarantee that our buildings are safe for the citizens who use the courts and the staff who work there everyday.," Broderick said.

    The Judicial Branch spent $3 million on security in FY 2004 for all court locations, which includes $1.2 million to reimburse the county sheriff’s departments for security coverage at 11 Superior Court locations. Security in the district courts and in two probate courts is provided by Judicial Branch Court Security Officers, under the direction of the Administrative Office of the Courts.  Currently there are 16 fulltime and 116 part-time Court Security Officers, under AOC supervision, working at 40 court locations around the state.

    In addition to Justice Galway and Assistant Commissioner Sweeney, the task force members are Attorney General Kelly A. Ayotte; Rockingham County Sheriff Daniel J. Linehan; Superior Court Chief Justice Robert J. Lynn; Associate Superior Court Justice Gillian L. Abramson: State Senator Robert E. Clegg Jr. of Hudson; Judge Edwin W. Kelly, Administrative Judge of the District Court; Plaistow Police Chief Steven Savage; State Reps. Karl I. Gilbert of Newmarket and Stephen J. Shurtleff of Penacook; Attorney W. Michael Dunn of Manchester, representing Gov. John Lynch; Hampton District Court Judge Francis J. Frasier; Probate Court Judge Christina M. O’Neill; Marital Master Michael H. Garner; Merrimack County Sheriff Chester L. Jordan; Keith Lohmann, director of Police Standards and Training; Jason R. Jordanhazy, Interim Court Security Manager at the Administrative Office of the Courts; Donald D. Goodnow, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts; U.S. Marshall Stephen R. Monier; and Plymouth District Court and Family Division court security supervisor Bernard Hughes.