U.S. Marshals Service


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U.S. Marshals Service

The U.S. Marshals Service, a division of the Justice Department, is the oldest federal law enforcement agency, having served as a link between the executive and judicial branches of the government since 1789. The president appoints U.S. marshals for terms of four years. The Senate must confirm the appointments, but the president has the power to remove marshals before the expiration of their terms.

The U.S. marshals are the chief law officers of the federal courts. A marshal is appointed for each of the 94 federal judicial districts in the United States. The U.S. Attorney General designates the marshal's office location in each district. The marshals direct the activities of approximately 4,000 officers and personnel stationed at more than 350 locations throughout the United States and its territories.

The service is responsible for providing support and protection for the federal courts, including security for more than 700 judicial facilities and more than 2,000 federal judges and magistrates, as well as trial participants such as jurors and attorneys. In recent year this responsibility has increased due to a dramatic escalation in threats against members of the judiciary. The service also operates the Federal Witness Security Program, committed to ensuring the safety of endangered government witnesses.

U.S. marshals maintain custody of and transport thousands of federal prisoners annually, execute court orders and arrest warrants, and apprehend most federal fugitives. They seize, manage, and sell property forfeited to the government by drug traffickers and other criminals and assist the Justice Department's Asset Forfeiture Program.

The service's Special Operations Group responds to emergencies such as civil disturbances and terrorist incidents and restores order during riots and mob violence. The service also operates the U.S. Marshals Service Training Academy.

The director of the U.S. Marshals Service, who is appointed by the president, supervises the operations of the service throughout the United States and its territories. The director is assisted by a deputy director and an associate director for administration. Immediately after the september 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, deputy U.S. Marshals began assisting search and rescue efforts at the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon. Within 48 hours, the marshals coordinated many aspects of the U.S. response to the attacks from protecting airports to locating and apprehending potential suspects. In 2003 the U.S. Marshals Service continued to be involved in the government's continuing war on terror in addition to carrying out the agency's regular duties.

Further readings

U.S. Government Manual Website. Available online at <www.gpoaccess.gov/gmanual> (accessed November 10, 2003).

U.S. Marshals Service. Available online at <www.usdoj.gov/marshals> (accessed August 16, 2003).

Cross-references

Riot; Witnesses.

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