Unit III Course Project
Also known as court officers, bailiffs work under the supervision of the court administrator, the judge, and the police chief to provide different services in terms of court security. Their primary responsibility could be considered as the provision of a safe environment for the judge, attorneys, court personnel and the public at large. Qualifications for this career in criminal justice include passing of law enforcement courses. Such would be inclusive of learning civil and criminal laws, fire arms training, prisoner management, using deadly force, baton and stun gun use. Bailiffs are either employed by the US Marshal Service, the clerk of courts or the sheriff’s department.
The bailiff opens the courts formally. This includes doing a sweep of the environment to ensure that that court house is safe from weapons, contraband or explosives (May, 2008). This includes searching individuals walking into the court premises and other areas such as restrooms. The search around the court is normally conducted before the arrival of other relevant participants of the court such as legal officers and judges (May, 2008). They also ensure that defendants in custody do not interact physically with their families or other individuals. This is to avoid illegal passing of contraband or weapons. The officer is therefore, in charge of security hence helps court personnel with security issues whenever needed.
Court officers prepare courtrooms for sessions and hearings and help in ensuring that the courtroom has sufficient seats, electronic equipment, and paper supplies. Other administrative responsibilities during the court process include keeping time as per the judge’s request, issuing warrants, operating both audio and visual equipment, relaying messages from jurors to the court and also, collection of evidence from legal staff to the judge (Regoli, 2010). This shows that the officer mediates between the judge, jurors, and the legal staff. This is also aimed at limiting access to the bench and restricted areas such as the witness box for security purposes. Court officers are also involved in manning and monitoring juror activities. Such include delivery of the verdict to the judge during the verdict deliberation period (May, 2008).
Court officers also carry out arrests in case of court violations. Arrests on the court ground are normally as a result of instructions from the judge. However, they are allowed to make arrests outside the court in case of violation of city ordinances or in case of a crime committed in the officer’s presence. They also collect contraband from individuals walking into the courtroom buildings (Regoli, 2010). The contraband could later be used as evidence therefore; the bailiff is required to surrender it to city law enforcements for further investigations. They also provide criminals background when directed by the court. Since they have gone through law enforcement courses, they are expected to carry out the general responsibilities of a police officer though at a lower magnitude.
In conclusion, bailiffs or court officers play a fundamental role within the court systems. Security is key during trials since anything could happen. The law enforcement training could be considered necessary since it is generally a job for a police officer though it involves more of running court errands for the judge. They have the closest interaction with the judge during a trial proceeding hence are deemed important for the continuance of a court process. They order the court to stand and sit as the judge come into court meaning that a court proceeding cannot go on without a court officer.
May, D. C. (2008). Corrections and the criminal justice system. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Pub.
Regoli, R. M., & Hewitt, J. D. (2010). Exploring criminal justice: The essentials. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.