Federal Judge Outlines Occupational Hazards of Judiciary in his Book

In a Huffington Post blog, federal Judge Frederic Block describes the death threats that he and his colleagues face while sitting on the federal bench. Block writes about the threat on his life he received and those of other judges in his book, Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge.

In his book’s chapter titled “The Risks,” Judge Block writes that several years ago he was informed by an F.B.I. agent of Anthony Casso’s threat to kill him. The agent informed him that the F.B.I. investigated “over 300 threats against Article III federal judges” on an annual basis.

Block says this prompted him to look into the history of death threats against federal judges. He says that the numbers have risen drastically in the last decade. In 2010, 1,400 threats were made against judges compared to 592 in 2003.

In the chapter, Block describes the assassinations of three federal judges: John H. Wood, Richard J. Daronco, and Robert Smith Vance.

Block says he was told by the F.B.I. that the death threat to him was classified as low risk, and he has received two others since then. ┬áThese threats made clear that “being a judge was no bed of roses,” he notes.

Block states that few significant changes have been made regarding safety conditions for judges; there are no protective barriers around his courthouse. The rise in threats signifies this as a time to take action, he says.

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