CHICAGO, March 14, 2005 — The Atlanta-Fulton County
Courthouse shooting tragedy that left three people dead, including a much respected Superior Court Judge, could have been prevented, says Chicago attorney Robert Kreisman.
Kreisman, a noted trial lawyer, has opened a unique and
novel fund with his own money in order to ensure that this
type of incident never happens in the Cook County Circuit
Court system, where he practices.
“This tragedy was preventable and I’m determined to ensure
that we get the necessary security procedures in place for
our judges and court officers so that this senseless
violence never happens again in a courtroom in this
country,” says Kreisman referring to the new advancements in ‘smart gun’ technology.
Smart guns are weapons that can only be fired by the person
who carries them. The technology varies but when in place
only authorized individuals can activate the trigger
mechanism. Smart guns work by radio control, fingerprint identification or other personalized means of identification tied to the weapon itself. Had smart guns been used in the Fulton County Courthouse, this tragedy would have certainly been avoided and the technology is not only available right now, but affordable.
The 29 year veteran attorney believes that lawyers, judges
and court reporters will band together to put smart guns in
the hands of court deputies to avoid the risk of more
killings in our courts. Kreisman goes on to say, “We are
guided by the authority of the judges who run the courtrooms where we represent our clients and where citizens can obtain fairness, without prejudice. The entire judicial process is compromised by the threat of violence at every turn. We must move swiftly to ensure that those who participate in it do not fear for their lives within our courtrooms. I am committed to the safety of the jurists who devote themselves to this process; they must be safe at all times if justice is to be served.” Smart guns would have made what Brian Nichols did impossible.
Nichols overpowered a court deputy, wrested her gun and ran into the courtroom where Judge Barnes was conducting a civil court hearing. Nichols held the courtroom at bay and then opened fire on the judge and his court reporter, killing both. He then fled the court building, with deputies in hot pursuit. Had the deputy sheriff been armed with a smart gun, Nichols would not have been able to fire the weapon.
Kreisman has received several calls from colleagues and lawmakers all over the country today who take the March 11th, Atlanta shootings as a wakeup call.
“The technology is here and it’s not expensive. Let’s learn from this experience. We can make sure that this type of event will never happen again. I think it would be irresponsible if we were not to fix this weakness in our system right now.”