By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org
Liberty County’s new X-ray and metal detection system in place on the west side of the county courthouse appears to be working as planned.
On Friday, a felony defendant with a case in the 253rd State District Court was found to be in possession of a firearm. The gun was discovered as the felony defendant entered the courthouse and had her purse checked by security. She reportedly did not have a license to carry a concealed handgun.
“I don’t believe her intention was to do harm but the courtroom has inmates in it every day. To put weapons in their proximity that aren’t controlled by law enforcement officers is dangerous,” said District Attorney Logan Pickett, who is in charge of the courthouse security program.
Since the unnamed defendant has not been convicted of the felony charge, she cannot now be charged with Felon in Possession of a Firearm, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in the Texas penitentiary and a fine of up to $10,000.
“The system worked like it was supposed to. As soon as we get all the door locks in place, the courthouse will be much safer,” Pickett said. “The courthouse is not a place for weapons. The volatility of a courtroom is not matched in any other place. Some business handled here is good like adoptions and such, but others are for reasons like divorce, child support and criminal cases. It’s ripe for something bad to happen.”
According to the DA, courthouse visitors carrying knives is pretty common. Those items are being collected by courthouse security and returned to the owners as they leave the courthouse.
“They have prevented at least 100 knives from coming into the building since the equipment was put into place earlier this month,” Pickett said.
The defendant was allowed to continue on to court for her docket call — minus the firearm.
See previous article about courthouse security below: