Dispute Leaves Security for U.S. Judges in Limbo

Money budgeted for home security equipment for judges, but who pays for monthly monitoring?

Kocoras and other judges are hopeful that John Clark, the new head of the Marshals Service, will increase the attention paid to their security worries and provide stability to the agency in part because he is not an outside appointee, unlike his predecessor, Benigno Reyna.

"I think there is one very bright spot in that the nominee is a career Marshals Service employee," said Judge Jane Roth of the Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, who until September was head of the Judicial Conference's security and facilities committee.

Reyna had been the police chief in Brownsville, Texas, overseeing about 300 employees, before President Bush named him in October 2001 to run the Marshals Service, which has about 4,000 deputy marshals. Reyna resigned July 31.

Clark is acting head of the Marshals Service pending Senate confirmation, which is expected in January or February. He would be the fifth director of the agency since 1999.

In addition to judicial security, the Marshals Service is responsible for transporting prisoners, operating the witness protection program and tracking down fugitives.

Copyright (c) 2005, Chicago Tribune Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.