State Representatives Mike Colona (D-St. Louis) and Timothy Jones (R-Eureka) have put their differences aside and introduced legislation that will give attorneys a pass when it comes to the security checks at the St. Louis County Courthouse. They propose allowing attorneys who show their Missouri Bar Association card at the check point to be excused from going through the metal detectors like they are required to do now.
The security procedure for the courthouse currently requires all those entering to remove their shoes, belts and all metal from their person before they can walk through the metal detector. Some equate the procedure to that which passengers must go through before entering a gate at an airport. The metal detectors are set higher than most other courthouse metal detectors in the area, after a shooting occured at the St. Louis County courthouse 20 years ago, and after a more recent, lesser-known incident where a box cutter made it into a courtroom. Every person standing in line must take the time to remove their shoes, belts, jewelry, change and all other metal from themselves in an effort prevent setting off the metal detectors as they pass through. Then, they must re-dress before they can continue to their destination in the building. This procedure is not found at any other area courthouse, or even the state capitol where metal detectors aren't even in use.
Attorneys, like Representatives Colona and Jones, find the experience time-consuming and has led to instances of attorneys being late for hearings or other court appearances. Some attorneys are required to enter and exit the courthouse several times a day and therefore have to go through the security procedure each time they leave and come back. Supporters of the proposal say that only having to show their Missouri Bar card could save significant time not only for attorneys, but for the other citizens who have business within the building. Those against the proposed legislation say that attorneys can pose just as much threat to those in the courthouse as any other person and therefore, should not be exempt from the procedure.
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