Delaware has been buzzing about the contents of a 2012 report, conducted by the U.S. Marshals Service, assessing the safety of the New Castle County Courthouse, and if the recommended actions included in the report could have prevented the fatal shooting that occurred there February 11.
Although the report's recommendations are confidential, sources have told Delaware Law Weekly that the report advocated adding additional Capitol Police to the entrance and structurally redesigning the lobby where the shooting took place in order to move the metal detectors closer to the front door.
Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Myron T. Steele and Joseph A. Papili, the U.S. marshal for the District of Delaware, declined to comment on the report's contents. DLW has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the U.S. Marshals Service to obtain a copy of the report.
Although Steele confirmed the report's existence, he declined to discuss any specific recommendations included in the report, including adding additional police and moving the metal detectors.
"The U.S. Marshals did a gratuitous review in 2011 and 2012 for our benefit on the clear and unequivocal condition that it remains confidential," Steele said in an email to DLW. "Only they can waive that confidentiality. Their reason appears intuitive to me. Therefore, I cannot comment."
In a later email, Steele once again affirmed that he could not talk because of the judiciary's agreement with the Marshals Service.
"The Marshals' report explicitly states that it is confidential and cannot be copied, shown or commented on without the U.S. Marshals' written consent," he said. "I am told that condition is in all their reports, but I am in no position to verify that statement."
"I have seen our report and it is 'confidential' and we cannot breach that confidentiality without their consent," Steele continued. "For obvious reasons, we have not asked to be released from that obligation as we do not plan to tell the world about current or future security planning. We would be idiots to telegraph our present and future security plan to potential bad actors."
However, in a series of emails to DLW, Papili said that any information regarding the report's recommendations would have to come from Delaware's Administrative Office of the Courts.
"At this time the U.S. Marshals Service will not be offering any comment regarding the security survey or any facts related to the security systems in place at the New Castle County Courthouse," Papili said in a February 15 email. "We are referring all requests to the state Administrative Office of the Courts, so I would refer you to their office for any additional information regarding your request."