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Nebraska Judge Says Police Can't Carry Guns in His Courtroom

January 11, 2016  | 

Douglas County (NE) District Court Judge James Gleason (Photo: KETV screen shot)
Douglas County (NE) District Court Judge James Gleason (Photo: KETV screen shot)

Late Friday, Douglas County (NE) District Court Judge James Gleason issued an order, affirming his ban on police carrying guns into court, even as part of their uniform.

"I think it is a sad situation if our law enforcement personnel identify themselves, not by their presence, but rather by the presence of their firearms," Gleason wrote in the order.

The question dates back to December, when Omaha police officers refused to take the stand without their firearms during a hearing on a motion to suppress evidence.

Gleason postponed the proceeding and sought input from the Omaha Police Department and city attorneys.

"They're on-duty, sworn law enforcement officers," Schmaderer told KETV NewsWatch 7 after the meeting with Gleason. "They're trained to react in the event their services are needed to protect the public, and that can happen in the confines of a courtroom or that could happen in the confines of walking to their car."

In his ruling, Gleason noted the Douglas County Sheriff's Office is the only agency charged with courthouse security.

The county judge also held up Omaha's federal courthouse as an example.


Comments (23)

Displaying 1 - 23 of 23

EODK9Trainer @ 1/11/2016 4:09 PM

Yeah because we all know that nothing bad happens in courtroom around the US. What the hell is this judge thinking?

Richard @ 1/11/2016 4:28 PM

If the states, counties, and municipalities commissions the officers why do the DA and others allow a judge to take away their powers. Seems like the voter's need to put this judge into check out of office.

Tom Ret @ 1/11/2016 4:28 PM

The judge is a moron!

John @ 1/11/2016 4:48 PM

I am retired police officer, that use to be a ruling in our county until a judge was shot at by an accused. Ruling changed very quickly after that. Some judged are really nieve and stupid.

UncleMike @ 1/11/2016 4:52 PM

That judge is an idiot.
I hope if he calls LEO's to his courtroom for a disturbance they refuse.
Officers aren't paid to endanger their lives because some namby pamby judge is scared of their big bad guns.

Deputy Ken @ 1/11/2016 5:18 PM

This has got to be the stupidest, most asinine thing I have read in a while. This judge is a moron. If I was the Sheriff of that county, I'd refuse to staff his courtroom with my deputies. Can anyone say political activist judge, I'd be suspect of any ruling coming out of that man's courtroom.

kevCopAz @ 1/11/2016 5:54 PM

Here in Maricopa County (Phx) Az we have Judges with that same mentality. Here the presiding judge leave it up to the particular Superior court judge to decide for their own courtroom. We just carried concealed anyway. Screw the judges,these judges do not realize that a uniformed officer would be the first one shot, first one assaulted if anything happened in that court room. They are also the first to be expected to respond if there is a problem in the courtroom. Why is it a problem for a trained on duty working officer to be armed? This is ridiculous. Can a private business order a cop to give up their firearm (if on or off duty), NO. So what makes a judge that much more powerful? If anything happens in that judges courtroom any officer there should refuse to become involved, and perhaps use that judge as a shield if there is a suspect with a weapon. Perhaps that might change that judges mind. He should be voted out at the soonest opportunity or even recalled. He is a pompous fool.

Bob peterson @ 1/11/2016 7:01 PM

Judges used to be working citizens. Things changed when you had to be an attorney to be a judge. I hope the Sheriff of the county can do something. Police in a uniform with out firearm is a target, especially in today's times.this judge needs to be relieved of his job.

Jon Retired LEO @ 1/11/2016 7:16 PM

Apparently the Judge is trying to impress the White House.

Robert @ 1/11/2016 9:01 PM

Why must police carry weapons in a state or county court...but not a federal courtroom? I assume that all weapons except for court security are banned?
What is the difference? Is the security more lax at the state / county courthouse?
Differences:
A private business can order the LEO off their property.....if the police fail to show up to court; they can be held in contempt of court (and let a guilty person walk)...although contempt of court is rarely handed out when police fail to show.

Judges need to be lawyers because the law is more complex than the 1800s.

It amazes me how the most venomous comments on this board all have the same common thread....whenever LEO are held to the same standards as the rest of the population, the fangs come out quickly (Detroit jail policy, cops being arrested, etc).

Percy @ 1/11/2016 9:09 PM

I see the comments here are skewing towards the SS style. Lots of yelling and ind insults without any serious discussion as to why the judge made this decision.

Perhaps just perhaps this judge is trying to illustrate that maybe in a country where police kill over 1200 people a year that he doesn't feel comfortable with guns in his courtroom.

Or maybe he just doesn't feel comfortable around police who have been known to shoot their own wives while in bed, or try out their guns in the airport, or try to shoot a dog while falling and kill a mother of 3.

Now those are just suggestions, but no you're right he must be a libtard, Obama loving democrat stupid moron. I believe that's the way judges are chosen except of course for the ones who rule in favor of the police.

Grow up.

justice4cops @ 1/12/2016 6:50 AM

Robert. Your a shit bag. You must not be LE as you side with this moron. If you have ever carried a gun as a LEO you would know we do not surrender our weapons. only in a secured, locked down facility such as a jail are our guns ever removed while in uniform. "Cops lives matter."
BTW private business that order LE off their property such as Democratic loving Arby's, LEO ban and refuse to spend our money there. I hope when a defendant jumps up and kicks this Obama loving judge in the Ass, he will yell for the officers who won't be there. Nuff said

Leonard @ 1/12/2016 7:55 AM

I've been in several courthouses and every one has some type of screening process for entrants. That doesn't mean a weapon can't get through, but I don't see a problem with the Judges request. I notice the article didn't mention tasers. Frankly there is little to no risk in a courtroom and a deadly weapon is not needed.

tedb @ 1/12/2016 9:40 AM

Leonard,

Yes, I'll bet you have been in many courtrooms. In regard to your statement about "Little to no risk in a courtroom", tell that to the ghost of Judge Harold HALEY, Marin County (CA) Superior Court Judge who was murdered on 8/7/70. I was a cop in the area at the time and remember it well. ( See www.marinij.com/article/ZZ/.../508079999)

Robert @ 1/12/2016 12:11 PM

Justice4cops...
You are a disgrace to the citizens who YOU SERVE and who PAY YOUR SALARY every year.
You may not like this judges decision, but it is in his domain to make rules for his court (within limits). He was elected by the same citizens that pay your salary...which is probably the same way you feel about them. Were the 51% of voters "idiots" for electing this guy...everyone who doesn't agree 100% with your ideas is an "idiot" or a "shit bag".
You are probably the worst type of LEO; an out of touch, jaded, LEO..who thinks there are only 2 types of people: Cops and criminals. Nothing matters in your little world...except your LEO buddies and your pension (assuming you can hold on long enough without getting fired by your Chief...because he is probably an "idiot" also).
Go back to your small little world, and let the adults....who may have credible arguments on why the decision is bad (maybe county courts are lax on security?)...talk with rational words.

Percy @ 1/12/2016 5:04 PM

Or maybe he read another story like this one, they seem to be all the rage
"Pennsylvania Constable Serving Eviction Order Kills 12-Year-Old"

Nice work!!!

justice4cops
Your comments are childish and idiotic, and anyone who finishes a sentence with "Nuff said" is a bonehead. But yes please do continue to blame Arby's, Obama, democrats, liberals, or anyone else who disagrees with your neanderthal views.

tedb
So you quote a story about 1 judge being killed 45 years ago and that's why all cops shouldn't give up their firearms. Well sweetheart if you read the story I mentioned above( it's on this very site no comments yet) using your logic leo should never be armed when evicting someone. Or maybe you could just use a tank blow the place apart and then run over the rubble.

But do keep blaming us libtards, you know cause we like to read and such.

Wayne @ 1/13/2016 4:12 AM

Robert and Percy,

Here are some facts for before you spew the BS to the rest of us.

A breakdown of the CJES research data show that 199 incidents (shootings, bombings, and arson attacks) have occurred in state courts from 1970 through 2009: 20 during 1970-79; 37 during 1980-89; 64 during 1990-99; and 78 during 2000-09. In addition, CJES has documented 11 state courthouse incidents for 2010 and 13 for 2011. Clearly, incidents involving shootings, bombings, and arson are on the rise.

In recent years, the number of violent incidents in courthouses have been on the rise. In 2005, there were 15 violent incidents in U.S. courthouses. Six years later, there were already 28 by the time summer hit, according to a Center for Judicial and Executive Security (CJES) report. Data is only available up until July 13, 2011.

Wayne @ 1/13/2016 4:23 AM

Percy,

Again you spew your garbage without knowing the facts, here is the story on the 12 year old shot.

A man answered the door, closed it, then reopened it and exchanged words briefly with the constable, police said. He then pointed a loaded .223-caliber rifle that had been "slung and concealed along his body" at the constable's chest, police said. The girl was standing behind her father, authorities said.

Robert @ 1/13/2016 9:01 AM

Wayne...at least you get some credit for looking at some facts.
However, you want to review the sources for the article...vs just the headlines.
I read the source article that the statistics were based on "disorder the in the courtroom" (this is the source for the 2005-2010 incidents).
None of the incidents listed in this article would have required an armed LEO in the courtroom:
--"bombings": these were all either bomb threats OR an explosive device was found outside of the courtroom.
--"arson": 4 people lit themselves on fire..as a protest or suicide
--~12 guns found on entrance
--none of the incidents, in this article had a person with a gun or knife in the courtroom...most were assaults, were the Bailiff or SD used a taser or other means to stop the act.
Next time read the sources for your statistics....I read only 1 of the sources myself.
Can you name a single instance were someone has gotten a gun past security (metal detector at entrance) in the State of Iowa?

Percy @ 1/13/2016 11:01 AM

@Wayne
No sweetheart you are wrong.
I read about 6 different versions of this story before posting.

"A man answered the door, closed it, then reopened it and exchanged words briefly with the constable, police said. He then pointed a loaded .223-caliber rifle that had been "slung and concealed along his body" at the constable's chest, police said. The girl was standing behind her father, authorities said."

And now a 12 year old girl is dead, that is the only FACT I'm interested in.

Can you explain how a rifle is leveled at someone with 1 in the chamber with a 30 round clip
yet no shots fired, and constable cletus here was able to get 1 off and kill the wrong person?
I hope there is video.

The facts you present regarding courthouse incidents in no way show how allowing cops to be armed in a courthouse would have prevented any of them. Just as Robert pointed out.
Sadly for guys like you there are people who do care and do follow these things before commenting.

notepad @ 1/14/2016 6:59 PM

Don't humor Percy, Leonard or Robert by letting them bait you into an argument. They aren't cops. They just want to rile us up.

SGT Retired @ 1/25/2016 3:20 PM

After reading some of these very crass statements by good guys, and those that have no love for cops, I am amazed that no one has bothered to check the facts on courtroomviolence cases:

http://www.ncsc.org/sitecore/content/microsites/future-trends-2012/home/better-courts/1-1-courthouse-security-incidents.aspx

My last three year assignment was as a Court Services Supervison for the Superiour Court of CA in LA. We had mob violence, stabbings, and yes guns that got in somehow. I had to tell judges that didn't like guns, he would not have a deputy in his courtroom, and if he called we would all be armed. All agreed.

Before defending a decission to not allow police to be armed, ask yourself, WHY would any reasonable person want to lock out those who are trained and sworn to protect and serve, especially those going to court to air their differences!

Often the officer is a target for the violence of those he is putting in jail perhaps for many years for a serious crime. THINK

Will B @ 1/29/2016 1:49 PM

The Circuit Court in my County has 30 courtrooms and thousands of citizens in and out of the building daily. That would also include CRIMINALS who are out on bond. We have state of the art metal detectors, x-ray machines, wands, etc. Even with the best of the best screening equipment, no screening station is ever fool proof. We have all seen the news reports of the many security breaches at airports and other govt buildings time after time. If someone is determined enough to get in with a weapon, they eventually will. If officers are unarmed, lives that may have been saved will be lost. With all of the random shootings going on these days, any judge wanting a police officer that is trained and sworn to protect him to be unarmed, must have a serious mental issue. NO Police Officer should ever be required to wear their uniform without their firearm, unless they are inside of a jail. This is absolutely ridiculous and dangerous for everyone. Fortunately our judges are not this stupid.

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