Crimes Targeting Family Law Judges - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/13/06-Tyler

Crimes Targeting Family Law Judges

A string of crimes nationwide, targeting those who work with family law, brings into question the safety of our East Texas judicial system.  

The latest shooting was in Reno, Nevada.   A family law judge shot while standing near a window. The man who allegedly shot him was going through a divorce... And his case was being heard by the judge.  

The security of judges has been the topic for many around here, ever since the Smith County Courthouse shootings.  Local judges say violence against a family law judge is not that uncommon.    

"It always wakes you up one more time when you hear that and it's like, oh that judge was like me. They are doing the same kind of things I am, dealing with the same kind of people that I am," says Judge Robin Sage, 307th District Court in Gregg County.

East Texas judges agree presiding over family law cases can be a dangerous job.  

"They are more upset in family law than any other criminal law cases. So, no I'm not shocked," says Judge Randall Rogers, County Court at Law #2 in Smith County.

Smith County Judge Randall Rogers and Gregg County Judge Robin Sage have been on the bench for more than 15 years. They say violence towards family law judges is getting worse.  

"In family court we do highly emotional things, as a judge I have to take someone's children away," says Judge Sage.

Both say since the Smith County Courthouse shootings, just 15 months ago... There has been additional security measures to the courthouses.  

"The security measure have gotten better but they've just got a long ways to go," says Judge Rogers.

They have also taken measures to protect themselves.  

"I am a concealed weapons holder and I was caught without having my weapon during the courthouse shooting and that is never ever going to happen again ever," says Judge Rogers.

"Personally, I have made a few changes and some more security at home and these type of things," says Judge Sage.

Judge Sage says the difficulty of her job is not knowing who has the potential of being a threat. Judge Rogers and Judge Sage say they are also concerned about the safety outside the courthouses.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.  kdavis@kltv.com

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