Threats to Federal Judges Have Increased Each Year Since 2019

Credits: The Business Journals

The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) compiled statistics revealing that federal judges faced over 400 threats nationwide in 2023, a significant increase from previous years.

The figures, obtained by CBS News, show a notable escalation in threats against federal judges, with 457 incidents investigated last year, compared to 300 in 2022 and 179 in 2019. These numbers represent the threats that were investigated, and it’s possible that individual judges received multiple threats.

The trend of rising threats against federal judges has been consistent since 2019, according to the USMS data. The heightened attention on attacks and threats against the federal judiciary intensified following an incident in August, where a Texas woman allegedly made criminal threats against U.S.

Justice Threats (Credits: ABC News)

District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who was overseeing a case related to the 2020 election involving former President Donald Trump. The woman pleaded not guilty to the charges, which included threatening Chutkan and her family.

Chutkan, who received increased security measures after being assigned to Trump’s case, also experienced a “swatting” incident in January, where emergency services received a false report of a shooting at her home address.

Similarly, special counsel Jack Smith, involved in charging the former president with federal crimes, was also a target of a “swatting” incident last year.

The USMS reported that threats against federal prosecutors also surged in 2023, with 155 incidents investigated compared to 93 in 2022. This increase follows a fluctuation in threats against Justice Department attorneys, which saw a decrease to 68 in 2021 before rising again.

The spike in threats against public officials prompted Attorney General Merrick Garland to address the issue, condemning the violence and emphasizing its threat to democracy.

The escalation of threats extended beyond federal judges and prosecutors, with public officials like Senator Rick Scott and Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Brandon Williams also reporting swatting incidents.

Colorado’s state Supreme Court faced violent threats after ruling on Trump’s eligibility for the state’s presidential primary ballot due to his involvement in the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack.

Additionally, in 2022, a California man was charged with attempting to assassinate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, underscoring the seriousness of threats against the judiciary and public officials.

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