It was the jump seen around the world.

Image of man jumping onto judge in courtroom
Screenshots from Associated Press

On January 3, in a Las Vegas courtroom, a mentally ill defendant objected to his sentencing by Judge Mary Kay Holthus. He responded by launching himself over the bench directly at the judge.

The incident was captured on courtroom cameras and within hours was being shown on local and national news broadcasts, and on thousands of websites and social media accounts.

It’s one thing to hear about a judge being threatened or attacked. It’s another to watch it happen. It’s shocking. It’s disturbing. And sadly, it’s become more commonplace.

Traumatic events like this, and the recent murder of a Maryland judge at his home, illustrate how vulnerable court personnel have become to violence.

Judge recovering from being attacked in the courtroom

It has been a concern for a long time. Our first online privacy protection client was a county court in California. That was more than ten years ago. Since then, the number of threats against judges has risen exponentially, according to the US Marshals Service.

With apologies to Judge Holthus, perhaps this highly publicized incident will ultimately result in a renewed focus on this serious problem, and what can be done to address it.

How to Protect Your Judges

Many courts will likely review internal security procedures and policies, but they should not stop there. More often now those who target judges do so at the judge's home, away from bailiffs, cameras, and armed officers.

There are ways that judges can be safer online. They require contacting data brokers and other entities with requests to remove one’s personal content, as well as usage of a VPN and VoIP number to mask your cell phone, and online search and browsing activity. A lot of work? Maybe – but not if we do it for you.

How IronWall360 Can Help

We’ll scan the breadth of the Internet for your home address and get it removed where we find it. And we’ll put our additional, easy-to-use services in place to keep that personal information away from potential threats, as well as scammers and identity thieves who can hurt you in other ways.

As we’ve said before, every judge is one decision away from being the target of a personal threat, or having their name shared instantly to millions of social media accounts (and when that happens, it is rarely shared in a positive light). No one expects a lowering of the national temperature on heated topics anytime soon. And even if we should be fortunate enough to find our way back to a more measured temperament, there will never be a time when judges won’t be required to send defendants to prison – and risk the wrath of their families and friends. Retribution in such cases used to be extremely rare; now, with the wealth of personal information available about all of us online, it has never been easier for a motivated individual to lash out.

It’s time to take steps to protect yourself – and your court personnel.

Explore Options for Online Privacy Protection


Ron Zayas


Ron Zayas is an online privacy expert, speaker, author, and CEO of 360Civic, a provider of online protection to law enforcement, judicial officers, and social workers. For more insight into onli... Read more

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