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U.S. Marshals Service

History - The U.S. Marshals and Court Security

Protection of Federal Judge

Deputy Neagle shooting Terry

Marshal Franks' response to the Attorney General, written 95 years ago, bears resemblance to current Marshals Service concerns for court security:




United States Marshal's Office Northern District of California San Francisco, May 6. 1889 Hon. W.H.H. Miller Attorney General Washington, D.C.


Sir:. . . When the Hon. Judge Lorrenzo Sawyer our Circuit Judge returned from Los Angeles, some time before the celebrated court scene, and informed me of the disgraceful action of Mrs. Terry towards him on the (railroad) cars while her husband sat in front, smilingly approving it, I resolved to watch the Terrys, (and so notified my deputies) whenever they should enter the courtroom, to be ready to suppress the very first indignity offered by either of them to the judge. After this, at the time of their ejectment from the courtroom, when I held . . . Terry and his wife as prisoners in my office, and heard his threats against Justice Field, I was more fully determined than ever ever to throw around the justice and Judge Sawyer every safeguard I could. I have given the matter careful consideration, with the federal  judges at this time, trusting that the department will reimburse me for any reasonable expenditure . . . You can rest assured that when Justice Field arrives he, as well as all the federal judges, will be protected from insults, and where an order is made it will be executed without fear as to consequences . . . I wish the judges to feel secure.. .

Marshal Franks made a request for additional Deputy Marshals and was supported in his request by the United States Attorney. The situation with the Terry's was obviously becoming a very serious problem for the Marshal.

On May 27, 1889, Marshal Franks received assistance from the Department of Justice. Attorney General Miller wrote:

. . . You are directed to employ certain special deputies at a per diem of five dollars, payable out of the appropriations for your fees and expenses of Marshals...

Deputy U.S. Marshal David Neagle was then assigned permanently to Justice Field to perform what we now call protective services. While riding by train with Justice Field from Los Angeles to San Francisco on August 14, 1889, Deputy Neagle learned that the notorious Terry's had boarded the train in Fresno. Neagle, fearing trouble, requested that the conductor telegraph Lathrop, the next stop, and summon assistance from peace officers or constables there. There were no available law enforcement persons.

Continued:  Page One | Two | Three | Four is an official site of the U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justicee