Monthly Archives: March 2016

KN, p. 167 “What does a U.S. Marshal do?”




The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) has been around for over 225 years, created by the first Congress to protect/serve the federal courts and make sure the orders of the President, Congress, and Judges were carried out across the United States. It is the country’s oldest federal law enforcement agency.


I never thought of US Marshals as census takers, but up until 1870 they did that in addition to arresting fugitives and serving subpoenas. Over the years they have also been asked by Congress and the President to capture fugitive slaves, swap spies with the Soviet Union, chase the bad guys, control riots – the basic idea being to help the government run more smoothly when nobody else has been quite qualified to do the job across State lines.


An interesting aspect of their history is that at first, US Marshals answered to the Secretary of State. In 1861, they fell under the Attorney General’s office and then in 1961, became an entity of their own with a Chief Marshal in charge. It has always been the enforcement arm of the federal courts and operates within the Department of Justice.


The 94 US Marshals are appointed by the President and handle the enforcement duties for the 94 federal court districts and the 12 circuits of the US Court of Appeals. They employ over 5,200 deputy Marshals, criminal investigators, administrative employees, and detention enforcement officers. They are in charge of:


  • Judicial Security
  • Fugitive Operations
  • Asset Forfeiture
  • Prisoner Transportation
  • Witness Security




Judicial Security


Since the federal courts preside over cases that involve terrorists groups, organized crime, and other presumed seriously dangerous defendants as well as high profile extortion/fraud cases, the judges, lawyers, and even litigants involved are sometimes the target of violence.


It’s the job of the US Marshal Service to prevent the violence and also to protect the public, witnesses, jurors, prisoners, and innocent bystanders.


In addition, the USMS:


  • Coordinates security for judicial conferences.
  • Protects Supreme Court justices and the deputy Attorney General outside of Washington.
  • Provides support to the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service with protective details for foreign officials while the U.N. is in session.
  • Manages the security services that provide court security officers who screen visitors at building entrances.
  • Provides information to federal, state, local, and international law enforcement partners about judicial security, including threat assessment and training.



Fugitive Operations


In 2015, the USMS arrested over 99,000 fugitives.

They cleared over 119,000 warrants.



Asset Forfeiture


The Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program seeks to disrupt criminal actions by taking away the means of doing business, while returning property to its rightful owners.


The U.S. Marshals Service helps identify and evaluate the proceeds of crime. They manage and sometimes auction off items as varied as real estate, businesses, cars, jewelry, art, antiques, boats, and planes.


Proceeds from the sales go to operate the program, reimburse victims, and fund various law enforcement operations.


Some of the other agencies that participate in the Asset Forfeiture Program are: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; FBI; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Food and Drug Administration; Department of Agriculture Office of the Inspector General.



Prisoner Transportation


In 2015, over 261,000 prisoners were transported by air and on land by the USMS.


The U.S. Marshals’ Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System handles over 700 cases a day between judicial districts and correctional institutions in the U.S., for the purpose of getting witnesses to trial or prisoners to jail.


JPATS has its own fleet of aircraft to move prisoners over long distances and is the only government-operated, regularly-scheduled passenger airline in the USA. Both military and civilian law enforcement agencies can use the planes for their prisoner transport – if space is available and only if the USMS is reimbursed.



Witness Security


The U.S. Marshals Service operates the federal Witness Security Program, sometimes called the Witness Protection Program, or WitSec.


Its primary role is to protect government witnesses and their immediate family members (sometimes innocent bystanders and sometimes criminals themselves) whose lives are in danger because of their cooperation in investigations and trials.



For more information about the US Marshal Service, visit www.usmarshals.gov



Future posts will discuss:


  • Qualifications and training needed to become a US Marshal
  • WitSec



*Photo credit: Wikipedia



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KN, p. 166 “Cobbles for Vegetable Stew”



Sheila and I eat in a lot of pubs whenever we visit Ireland. The food is tasty and in most places, is real comfort food. In order to get through those damp, cold Irish winters, food needs to be the hearty stick-to-your-ribs kind. We saw Vegetable Cobbler on the menu in a Killarney pub and thought it was a misprint. After all, we eat cobbler at home, but it’s always made with fruit – loads of different kinds of fruit, but always fruit.


We found out that Irish pubs rarely serve fruit cobbler and instead, go for a savory version and serve it as an entree. Until that day we had been served mashed potato topped stew and pie crust topped stew, but the gal told us that those were meat toppings. The cobbles (biscuits) are used primarily with an all vegetable stew. We learned something new every day!


Here’s the recipe that Sheila came up with to use with our year round hearty vegetable dishes. She modified her regular biscuit recipe and now it reminds me of those cheesy biscuits we get at restaurants here in the States.


"Cobbles for Stew"
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Irish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 Tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or rosemary, depending on the vegetable stew seasonings)
  • 1 jumbo egg, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Parchment paper
  • Aluminum cookie tray
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F)
  2. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl
  3. Add the butter/margarine and mix together with a fork or pastry blender
  4. Mix in 2/3 cup cheese and all the oregano (or rosemary). Set aside.
  5. Place the milk in a small bowl.
  6. Add the beaten egg to the milk and stir together.
  7. Add 1 cup of milk-egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together to form a soft ball of dough.
  8. Add more of the mixture if needed to include all the dry ingredients in the ball.
  9. Roll out dough (on a lightly floured surface) to about a 1/2 inch thickness.
  10. Use a lightly floured glass or lightly floured cookie cutter to cut two-inch circles.
  11. Add the cobbles to the top of your stew.
  12. Brush with leftover milk-egg and sprinkle the leftover cheese on top.
  13. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

We love that the ‘cobbles’ can also be baked on their own and eaten as an alternate bread at any meal. I taste-tested quite a few of these to make sure that the recipe was just right. 😉


If you are making the biscuit/cobbles without the stew, or have extra dough that doesn’t fit on top of the stew (as we did in the photo above) line the aluminum cookie tray with parchment paper, and increase the baking time to 13-14 minutes. Eat warm right out of the oven and serve with butter/margarine.





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KN, p. 165 “What does a lawyer really do?



Ah, the joys of being a TV/movie lawyer. The lawyers wear nice clothes, have offices with great addresses and those fab coffee carts right in front of the office building always have the best bagels and croissants. The TV lawyers get hired with big bonuses at huge law firms even before they finish law school. The cases are always interesting and there’s a large, steady paycheck coming in. Only the lousy lawyers get the so-so cases and the associates do the investigating while writing all the briefs.


Hmmm…maybe not.


In reality, the average beginning lawyer is not wealthy and unless associated with a law firm before graduation (during an internship) will take a few years to get established or have the luxury of being choosy about cases and/or clients.


It differs across the country and whether located in large or small towns, but lawyers can have a variety of specialties. In general, a lawyer advises the client about the legal options available and sometimes represents them in court. They conduct research for the particular case, prepare presentations for court or business meetings, and represent individuals or businesses or organizations. Some lawyers never see the inside of a courtroom, but instead, spend their days writing and filing briefs and contracts.


A lawyer can use the degree as a path to become a judge, to teach in law school, to become a law enforcement officer, or even to become a politician. Some specialties that require special certification include child welfare, real estate, estate planning, elder law, tax law, among several others.


TV lawyers are typically criminal defense attorneys or else they handle high dollar mergers and acquisitions. After all, the real estate contracts that every real-life homeowner in the country has to have, hardly makes for exciting TV. We, as the viewing audience, would rather watch a show about something more fun than deeds and mortgages.



What Does a Criminal Prosecutor Do?

A Criminal Prosecutor is a lawyer that works for a State or Federal authority – sometimes elected, sometimes appointed. His/her job is to bring a case against an accused person in a criminal trial and to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In the United States justice system, a criminal defendant is always considered to be innocent until proven guilty. Law enforcement officers gather the evidence and work with prosecutors to put the bad guys away.


Some of the duties of a criminal prosecutor may include:

  • Deciding whether or not to file criminal charges against a suspect
  • Research the facts/information of a case to see if the evidence will support a win, and therefore the expense of a trial
  • Deciding whether or not to conduct plea bargains with opposing attorneys
  • Interviewing witnesses and reviewing their testimonies
  • Presenting evidence to the jury

What Is a Criminal Defense Attorney?

A Criminal Defense Attorney gives legal advice and defends criminal defendants during trial. If a criminal defendant can’t afford a lawyer, the state will provide a public defender. Many criminal defense attorneys work at private criminal defense firms and charge several hundred dollars an hour. 


A criminal defense lawyer frequently offers legal services even before criminal charges have been formally filed against the suspect, by sitting in on (and giving advice during) interrogations by the police or other legal entities. In the United States legal system, a suspect is allowed to ask for an attorney to be present at all questioning sessions, bail hearings, plea bargaining, etc.


Criminal defense attorneys perform these tasks:

  • Assist suspects who have requested the presence of a lawyer during police interrogations
  • Assist clients during the pre-trial period
  • Engage in plea negotiations with the prosecutor, to obtain a reduced sentence or to have the charges dropped
  • Research the facts and laws involved in the criminal case
  • Defend clients during trial
  • Interview key witnesses to obtain testimony
  • File for an appeal or retrial if available
  • Assist with parole issues



If you like the idea of becoming a criminal lawyer, you’ll need:

  • a great eye for detail
  • to write clearly and concisely
  • to speak persuasively to strangers (the jury)
  • to have great investigative skills
  • excellent grades (3.5/B+ or better) in undergrad school
  • $75-250K for three years of law school in addition to your undergrad degree costs


Lawyers in all areas of the private and public sectors have exactly the same list of needs. Still interested? Go for it!


*Photo credit:

Lady Justice, LOUIS J. LEFKOWITZ BUILDING, New York County, NY




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