Judge: Clarkston Justice Court vulnerable to attack

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Securing the Clarkston Justice Court was on the agenda when a local judge and supervising judge for the 9th Judicial District met Tuesday.

Clarkstown Judge Scott Ugell talked to Supervising Judge Charles Apotheker about his concerns. Ugell said he would like to see at least two officers in each of the three courtrooms in the building as well as metal detectors.

Apotheker agreed that changes need to be made. The Office of Court Administration made similar recommendations in 1999, but no action was taken.

A 60-year-old man allegedly smuggled a rifle inside a Sloatsburg courthouse last month and shot at a woman he was involved in a lawsuit with. Apotheker says that incident has changed attitudes about lax security.

"There's been a whole mind set change ... and some good did come out of that. Fortunately no one was hurt," Apotheker said.

The state has agreed to provide metal detectors, but it's up to the town board to approve how to staff and pay for extra officers. Some believe the Clarkstown Justice Court will remain vulnerable until final approval is made.

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