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Congress sent legislation to the White House that would provide increased funding and additional criminal penalties intended to help protect federal judges and court personnel from violent attacks. The House and Senate passed amended versions of companion bills last week after the legislation had stalled for months. The Court Security Improvement Act includes an additional $20 million per year over the next four years for the U.S. Marshals Service, which protects federal courthouses and federal judges in court and on some off-site protection details. The legislation also includes a provision that transfers a judicial slot from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to the 9th Circuit. A White House spokeswoman said late last week that President George W. Bush is expected to sign the bill into law. The legislation was spurred by the murders of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow’s husband and mother in Chicago in 2005 by a disgruntled pro se litigant, who later killed himself.
Brendan Smith can be contacted at [email protected].

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