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Christyp
11-16-2011, 05:06 PM
The opening scene of my book has a courtroom shooting. I researched the type of gun that could get through the security systems at StL courthouse, but need to know how a bailiff would react to seeing a suspect pulling a gun.

Would he guard the intended victim if that was evident? Would he pull a gun and shoot even if the room was full? Do bailiffs even carry concealed weapons? I was told a majority do, but I want to keep this as realistic as possible. Btw, the shooter gets away, and before you start going "uh, no way", this is an urban fantasy and the shooter is actually a demon in the MS's husband's body....does that make sense?

Christyp
11-16-2011, 05:09 PM
And/or police officer who has worked at a courthouse as security.

Steve Collins
11-16-2011, 06:10 PM
I've worked court House Security here in Florida. Everybody empties their pockets and goes through an airport style metal detector whilst their possessions go through an x-ray machine. Additional officers stand by with a 'wand' should you set off the metal detector. Bailiffs carry glock pistols. In one recent incident a guy with a gun tried to get into the court house and the bailiffs shot him dead.

Christyp
11-16-2011, 07:14 PM
I've worked court House Security here in Florida. Everybody empties their pockets and goes through an airport style metal detector whilst their possessions go through an x-ray machine. Additional officers stand by with a 'wand' should you set off the metal detector. Bailiffs carry glock pistols. In one recent incident a guy with a gun tried to get into the court house and the bailiffs shot him dead.

I've found links to ceramic and fiberglass guns that could make it through a metal detector (common criminals can't afford them, they're somewhere around $10k). Now I need to know what would happen during an actual courtroom shooting. More, how would the bailiff react? The uniformed police downstairs? Would they put their own lives at risk to protect a victim?

jclarkdawe
11-16-2011, 10:05 PM
The opening scene of my book has a courtroom shooting. I researched the type of gun that could get through the security systems at StL courthouse, but need to know how a bailiff would react to seeing a suspect pulling a gun.

Would he guard the intended victim if that was evident? It depends. First question is whether the bailiff is even in the right position. They set up more to prevent trouble than to defend against attacks. The judge the bailiff would probably defend, the prosecutor maybe, defense counsel he's use as a shield.

Would he pull a gun and shoot even if the room was full? Depends upon the shooting lines and whether the suspect has pulled a gun and is shooting. Thing is you don't want to kill more innocent people than you save. And remember when calculating shoots you have to include what's behind the wall, especially interior walls. Depending upon the bullet and the construction of the wall, a bullet will go right through an interior wall.

Do bailiffs even carry concealed weapons? I was told a majority do, but I want to keep this as realistic as possible. It depends, but most do, and now more than 20 years ago.

Btw, the shooter gets away, and before you start going "uh, no way", this is an urban fantasy and the shooter is actually a demon in the MS's husband's body....does that make sense?

Understand that there is no 'typical' arrangement of courtroom security. I've seen one unarmed bailiff to one case where we had between ten to twelve bailiffs in the courtroom (my client was charged with a prison assault and let's just say the witnesses were not anybody you'd want to invite for tea).

They send their time watching the defendant, and any one else they're worried about. And then try to position themselves to where the response is easily done.

Courtroom security is a much higher level then what you see at airports. You'd have an easier time smuggling something by TSA than any courthouse I've been in. It's doable, since people have done it, but not only will the gun have to not set off the detector, the bullets can't either, and the tailoring has to be perfect at concealing a weapon.

Any bailiff knows they're one nutcase from an unplanned retirement. And the only time there's no nutcases in a courthouse is when they're empty of people. Spectators, defendants, attorneys, plaintiffs, bailiffs, and even a judge (and at least a few judges pack their own weapon) has lost it in the courtroom.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

MarkEsq
11-16-2011, 11:12 PM
If the shooting happens during a trial, the bailiff in my court would be responsible for getting the judge and jury out of the room safely. I actually had an incident where a witness attacked the defendant during trial, here you go (http://www.statesman.com/news/local/man-facing-murder-charge-is-attacked-in-court-918669.html), and that was what he did. Normally, there will be one or two armed sheriff's deputies in the room. They will focus on disarming the guy with the weapon.
It is feasible to have a courtroom without any armed people in it (our bailiff doesn't carry a gun). If the person on trial is free on bail, there may not be a deputy in there.

MTaillard
11-16-2011, 11:31 PM
In Detroit and in Omaha there's nothing concealed about the weapons that bailiffs carry. They wear normal police gear, which means a fully visible handgun.

ironmikezero
11-17-2011, 12:32 AM
Do not place your scene in a federal court; security is extremely effective. The chances of a miscreant smuggling in a weapon, especially a firearm and ammunition are close to nil.

In the courtroom, the Court Security Officers (CSO) are armed. They wear blazers, displaying a bullion (pocket badge); their weapons are concealed. In a criminal case (and some civil cases if circumstances warrant) there would be one or more armed Deputy U.S. Marshals (DUSM) present assigned to judicial protection. If someone is in custody, two or more DUSMs would be assigned to prisoner security. Within the well of the court (beyond the spectators' seats) the DUSMs are typically attired in business suits. Other casually dressed DUSMs may be present, mingling with the spectators in the gallery.

Incidents of any sort are dealt with swiftly. Federal courts take a very proactive stance regarding security, and sanctions for violations can be severe.

MTaillard
11-17-2011, 05:16 AM
ironmike, preachin' like its gospel! My only question is why you know so much about criminal court? Been there much?

jclarkdawe
11-17-2011, 07:10 AM
If you click on Iron Mike's name in his post, you'll see a list of options. Click on his profile where you'll find he's a retired federal criminal investigator.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

MTaillard
11-17-2011, 09:06 AM
Well, that does explain that then, though it was just meant as a light jab rather than a serious question. I suppose following up with a ~_^ would have communicated that a little better.

The Grift
11-17-2011, 06:51 PM
I've found links to ceramic and fiberglass guns that could make it through a metal detector (common criminals can't afford them, they're somewhere around $10k). Now I need to know what would happen during an actual courtroom shooting. More, how would the bailiff react? The uniformed police downstairs? Would they put their own lives at risk to protect a victim?

I'd be curious to see these. Because even if you have a weapon made out of rubber bands and wood, ammunition still has a lot of metal, including the cartridges and the actual bullet (brass and lead are both detectable by metal detectors). You'd have a real hard time getting a magazine full of 9mm through security.

Unless someone knows about non-metal-containing ammunition that I don't.

Steve Collins
11-17-2011, 09:25 PM
They do a blue plastic training round that is accurate it even goes through 1/4 inch plywood so would do serious damage or even kill if it hit you in the right spot. I f I remember correctly the only metal component was the primer which may be small enough to go through a metal detector depending on the level to which it is set.

Christyp
11-17-2011, 10:05 PM
They do a blue plastic training round that is accurate it even goes through 1/4 inch plywood so would do serious damage or even kill if it hit you in the right spot. I f I remember correctly the only metal component was the primer which may be small enough to go through a metal detector depending on the level to which it is set.

It's small enough you could hide it among your belt, then let it go through the x-ray. My favorite belt has metal studs along it, and my boots have metal along the zipper lining. Unfortunately, I forgot about all that and had to walk through in my socks, holding my pants up once.

Christyp
11-17-2011, 10:10 PM
I'd be curious to see these. Because even if you have a weapon made out of rubber bands and wood, ammunition still has a lot of metal, including the cartridges and the actual bullet (brass and lead are both detectable by metal detectors). You'd have a real hard time getting a magazine full of 9mm through security.

Unless someone knows about non-metal-containing ammunition that I don't.

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread112696/pg1

Can't seem to find any websites with pics of them, though. I talked to a couple of cops, and they all said they were around, but most common POS's couldn't afford them. There's also polycarbonate, or so I heard.

ironmikezero
11-18-2011, 12:51 AM
ironmike, preachin' like its gospel! My only question is why you know so much about criminal court? Been there much?

<snort-chuckle> 'Had to laugh! Yeah, been there a lot! No worries - no offense taken... 35 years in the saddle, now a security/intelligence consultant - no further details ('sorry - clearance constraints).

SummerSurf57
11-23-2011, 02:49 PM
If you need some information on law and bailiffs and stuff, I suggest some Jodi Picoult books. She has law scenes in most, if not all, of them, which might be good to learn from. Just a suggestion