Goodman bill enhances safety measures for Supreme Court justices

OLYMPIA — A bill to protect Supreme Court justices has passed the Washington House of Representatives Thursday evening with a vote of 69-27. Sponsored by Representative Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland) House Bill 2056, authorizes bailiffs of the Washington Supreme Court to conduct threat assessments on behalf of Supreme Court justices and to receive criminal history record information including non-conviction data for the investigation of threats against a justice.

House Bill 2056 also prohibits the dissemination or use of criminal history records or non-conviction data for purposes other than authorized by law. In addition, it mandates that credible threats must be referred to local law enforcement for further action, with the outcome and any anticipated action regarding such threats reported back to the bailiffs of the Supreme Court.

“This bill addresses a critical need and enhances security to protect our Supreme Court justices from escalating threats, preserving justice and court independence,” Goodman stated. “It’s crucial for justices to serve without fear for fair decisions, safeguarding justice from bias or hindrance. Sending House Bill 2056 to the Senate marks a significant step forward in fortifying the safety of our judiciary.”

The bill provides a clear definition of what constitutes a threat and aims to address the rising concern of threats against public officials, including judges, as described during public testimony. House Bill 2056 also emphasizes the necessity for Supreme Court bailiffs to be qualified through training and experience, providing a more robust framework for ensuring the safety and security of Supreme Court justices.

House Bill 2056 is now with the Senate for further consideration. This year’s legislative session ends on March 7.