Supreme Court has its own police force


POSTED: Sunday, September 06, 2009

QUESTION: Do sitting Supreme Court justices have Secret Service or special security personnel with them when they travel to give a speech or make an appearance?

Susan Miller
Monroe, Mich.

ANSWER: The Supreme Court has its own police force, and officers often accompany justices to local appearances. When justices speak at events outside Washington, the court coordinates security with the U.S. Marshals Service and local police.

Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said that as a matter of policy, she does not discuss specific security arrangements. The Secret Service provides security to the president, the vice president and their families; former presidents and their families; presidential and vice presidential candidates and their spouses near elections; and visiting heads of state or other distinguished foreign visitors. It is not involved in Supreme Court security.

Mark Sherman
Associated Press writer, Washington, D.C.


Q: Considering John Yettaw was recently released from Myanmar with the assistance of Sen. Jim Webb, is he subject to any charges in the U.S.? The nature of his act seems to suggest someone of questionable mental health. Will there be any psychological monitoring or testing of Yettaw?

Stephan Vertal
Forest Grove, Ore.

A: There is no federal criminal investigation of Yettaw for sparking an international incident when he swam to the home of Myanmar's detained democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. He said he did so because he had a vision that she would be assassinated.

The visit led to a trial in which Suu Kyi was sentenced to an additional 18 months of detention for breaching the terms of her house arrest. The trial of Suu Kyi, who has already spent 14 of the past 20 years in detention, sparked global condemnation.

Myanmar authorities threw Yettaw in prison, but he was released and deported after the intervention of Sen. Jim Webb.

Webb said Yettaw had suffered a “;medical incident”; just before leaving Myanmar. While in custody in a Yangon jail during his trial, he had a seizure and was hospitalized for a week. He also reportedly suffers from diabetes and asthma.

As for his mental condition, Yettaw has claimed to have had a traumatic childhood. According to his wife, he received a head injury during military service that caused blackouts and seizures. She also said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Devlin Barrett
Associated Press writer, Washington, D.C.