danville courthouse

Last year, the Danville City Council voted to allow the U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia, hold trials in the James F. Ingram Justice Center.

Security concerns at the Danville Courthouse have led to U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to push for specific safety upgrades at the facility.

The senators also expressed concern for the Walter E. Hoffman U.S. Courthouse in Norfolk. Both suffer from serious security vulnerabilities, according to a press release from Kaine's office.

In their letter to the U.S. General Services Administration, which is tasked with constructing, managing, and preserving government buildings, and the United States Postal Service, which operates the building that contains the Danville Courthouse, the senators wrote: “We share the concerns of the judges of the Western District and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in that the inability to make substantial improvements could lead to the closure of the Danville court division, further impeding the judiciary’s already constrained ability to serve the community. To that end, we support the U.S. Marshal Service’s efforts in utilizing available space in the building for security improvements. It is critical that the federal judiciary maintains its presence in Danville and that it is able to do so in a safe and functioning space.

The Danville Federal Courtroom is on the second floor of the former Main Street Post Office building and serves the cities of Danville and Martinsville and the counties of Henry, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Halifax and Charlotte.

In July, Kaine visited the Danville Courthouse to tour the building and to learn more about the security challenges the courthouse experiences.

In his letter to the General Services Administration, Warner and Kaine outlined their concerns.

"We share the concerns of the judges of the Western District and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in that the inability to make substantial improvements could lead to the closure of the Danville court division, further impeding the judiciary’s already constrained ability to serve the community ... To that end, we support the U.S. Marshal Service’s efforts in utilizing available space in the building for security improvements. It is critical that the federal judiciary maintains its presence in Danville and that it is able to do so in a safe and functioning space," according to the letter.

"I am extremely grateful for the support from U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine for safety and security upgrades at the Danville Courthouse.  U.S. Marshals are responsible for the protection of the federal judicial process, and we take that responsibility very seriously. Ensuring that judges can rule independently and free from harm or intimidation is paramount to the rule of law, and a fundamental mission of the United States Marshals Service. While we do not discuss our specific security measures, we continuously review the measures in place and take appropriate steps to ensure the integrity of the federal judicial process," said Thomas L. Foster, United States Marshal, Western District of Virginia.

Last year, the Danville City Council voted to allow the U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia, to hold trials in the James F. Ingram Justice Center.

In 2021, criminal hearings and trials were suspended in the federal courtroom until security upgrades were made, moving those proceeding out of Danville.

Moving the proceedings had caused time and travel concerns for those called for jury duty from Danville.

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