A New Jersey federal judge is calling for additional protections for those who work in the U.S. judicial system after a Maryland circuit court judge was fatally shot last week in what police are describing as a targeted attack. Judge Andrew Wilkinson, 52, was found dead in his driveway outside his Hagerstown home just hours after he presided over a judgment hearing in the suspect's divorce case, during which he awarded full custody of the suspect's children to his soon-to-be ex-wife. Maryland police are still searching for suspect Pedro Argote. "In my opinion, every state and territory in the United States should have laws protecting judges and should have laws that are aimed at judicial security," New Jersey federal judge Esther Salas told Fox News Digital. "There are a handful of states like New Jersey that have addressed judicial security head-on, and my hope and prayer is that states will follow New Jersey's lead, follow the federal legislation and create and enact their own laws that are aimed directly at the judiciary." Salas lost her 20-year-old son in 2020 after he was fatally shot in a racially motivated attack targeting Salas. SUSPECT VEHICLE IN MARYLAND JUDGE'S KILLING FOUND WHILE ALLEGED SHOOTER STILL ON THE RUN The gunman, who was disguised as a delivery driver, killed Daniel Anderl and seriously injured Salas' husband, Mark Anderl. Roy Den Hollander, who was upset over Salas' handling of his case, had created a step-by-step plan to target Salas and her family before executing the attack. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wounds days after killing Anderl. MARYLAND JUDGE KILLED IN ‘TARGETED ATTACK’ AFTER SUSPECT'S DIVORCE, CUSTODY HEARING: OFFICIALS "My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Wilkinson family. When I first read the news, I immediately just thought of his wife and their two children. Mark and I continue… to send them thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time that unfortunately, we know all too well," Salas said of the Wilkinson family. Violent, targeted attacks against judges are not entirely uncommon. JUDGE WHOSE SON WAS KILLED WARNS AGAINST PROTESTS AT SCOTUS JUSTICES' HOMES: ‘NO ROOM IN AMERICA FOR THIS’ In June 2022, for example, a Wisconsin man shot and killed retired Juneau County Judge John Roemer 15 years after Roemer sentenced him to prison. "This man went to the judge's home at 6:00 in the morning and assassinated the judge," Salas said of Roemer's murder. "These are the reasons that judicial officers need protections because there are people that harbor resentment, ill will. And those feelings can last." In December, President Biden signed the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act, which aims to protect judges' safety by protecting their personal information, into law, but Salas says more needs to be done to keep judges from falling victim to targeted crimes. "We have seen, over the course of history, judicial officers pay the ultimate price for some of the decisions they've had to make," Salas said. "… Federally, we know the judges who have lost their lives in the line of duty. We know that the problem with the state system is that there is no central repository for any of this information, so we don't know how many judges at the state level, local and municipal and state court judges have lost their lives in the line of duty or who have been threatened." She added that there are more than a thousand "state and local judges serving their states proudly, and they deserve protection." FORMER WISCONSIN COUNTY JUDGE KILLED IN ‘TARGETED’ ATTACK ON JUDICIAL SYSTEM: REPORTS "Our democracy mandates that we protect judicial officers. And I think that Judge Wilkinson's murder and his death is a painful reminder of what will happen if we don't take judicial security seriously," the judge said. Maryland authorities found Argote's vehicle in a wooded area in Williamsport, Maryland, but they are still searching for the suspect in Wilkinson's killing. The U.S. Marshals Service is now involved in the search for the 49-year-old suspect and is offering a $10,000 reward for information that could lead to his arrest. Argote does not have a criminal record in Washington County, but authorities have been called to his address for "verbal domestic assaults" twice within the last several years, according to Washington County Sheriff Brian Albert. Anyone with information regarding Argote's whereabouts is urged to contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office at 240-313-2170 or the U.S. Marshals at 1-877-WANTED2.
25 Ekim 2023 - 11:10
New Jersey judge, whose son was killed in targeted attack, calls for change after Maryland judge's murder
New Jersey federal judge Esther Salas, who lost her son to a targeted attack against her in 2020, is calling for change after a Maryland judge was fatally shot last week.
25 Ekim 2023 - 11:10