United States Marshals Service

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jump to: navigation, search
It has been suggested that United States Marshals be merged into this article or section. (Discuss)

The United States Marshals Service, part of the United States Department of Justice, is the United States' oldest federal law enforcement agency. It is the enforcement arm of the federal courts and protects federal courts and ensures the effective operation of the judicial system.



The Marshals Service is responsible for providing protection for the federal judiciary, transporting federal prisoners, protecting endangered federal witnesses and managing assets seized from criminal enterprises. The men and women of the Marshals Service are responsible for 55 percent of arrests of federal fugitives.


The United States Marshals Service is based in Alexandria, Virginia and is headed by a Director, who is assisted by a Deputy Director. The Headquarters serves to provide command, control and cooperation for the disparate elements of the service. The Headquarters is divided into ten divisions headed by ten Assistant Directors: Judicial Security Division, Investigative Services Division, Witness Security & Prisoner Operations Division, Justice Prisoner & Alien Transportation System, Operations Support Division, Executive Services Division, Information Technology Division, Human Resource Management Division, Business Services Division, and Management & Budget Division. The Assistant Director for the Management & Budget Division reports to the Comptroller/Chief Financial Officer, who in turn reports to the Director. The Operations Support Division is comprised of the Special Operations Group, Office of Emergency Management, and the Office of Inspections.

The Federal Court System is divided into 94 Districts. Each of the 94 Federal Judicial Districts has a US Marshal, a Chief Deputy US Marshal (GS-15), Supervisory Deputy US Marshals, and as many Deputy and Special Deputy US Marshals as needed. The Director and each United States Marshal is appointed by the President of the United States and is confirmed by the Senate. The District US Marshal is traditionally appointed from a list of qualified law enforcement personnel for that district or State. Each state has at least one District, while several have three or more.

Deputy US Marshals are either Government Series (GS) 1811 (Criminal Investigator Deputy) or 0082 (Deputy). The 1811 Deputies receive an additional 25% LEAP pay on top of their base pay and may progress to the grade of GS-12. The 0082 Deputies do not receive this 25% pay raise but do at least 90% of the same job. Additionally, 0082 Deputies may only progess to the grade of GS-11. Due to budget cut backs the US Marshals Service only hires 0082 Deputy US Marshals. Any 0082 Deputies wishing to become 1811 Deputies must do so by applying internally. Over the past years the US Marshals Service promoted about 48 1811 Deputies each year out of an 0082 Deputy applicant pool reaching the hundreds.


The offices of U.S. Marshal and Deputy Marshals were created by the first Congress in the Judiciary Act of 1789, the same legislation that established the federal judicial system. Special Deputies were allowed to be recruited as local hires or as temporary transfers to the Marshals' Service of other federal law enforcement officers. Marshals were also authorised to swear in a posse to assist them in manhunts and other duties. The Marshals were given extensive authority to support the federal courts within their judicial districts and to carry out all lawful orders issued by judges, Congress, or the President.

The Marshals and their Deputies served the subpoenas, summonses, writs, warrants, and other process issued by the courts, made all the arrests, and handled all the prisoners. They also disbursed the money. The individual Deputy Marshals have been portrayed as legendary heroics in the face of lawlessness.

The Marshals paid the fees and expenses of the court clerks, U.S. Attorneys, jurors, and witnesses. They rented the courtrooms and jail space and hired the bailiffs, criers, and janitors. They made sure the prisoners were present, the jurors were available, and the witnesses were on time.

When George Washington set up his first administration and the first Congress began passing laws, both quickly discovered an inconvenient gap in the constitutional design of the government: It had no provision for a regional administrative structure stretching throughout the country. Both the Congress and the executive branch were housed at the national capital; no agency was established or designated to represent the federal government's interests at the local level. The need for a regional organization quickly became apparent. Congress and the President solved part of the problem by creating specialized agencies, such as customs and revenue collectors, to levy the tariffs and taxes. Yet, there were numerous other jobs that needed to be done. The only officers available to do them were the Marshals and their Deputies.

Thus, the Marshals also provided local representation for the federal government within their districts. They took the national census every 10 years through 1870. They distributed Presidential proclamations, collected a variety of statistical information on commerce and manufacturing, supplied the names of government employees for the national register, and performed other routine tasks needed for the central government to function effectively. Over the past 200 years, Congress and the President also have called on the Marshals to carry out unusual or extraordinary missions, such as registering enemy aliens in time of war, sealing the American border against armed expeditions from foreign countries, and swapping spies with the former Soviet Union.

One of the most infamous jobs the Marshals were tasked with was the recovery of fugitive slaves. With the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 the Marshal service was given this task. They were also permitted to form a posse and to deputize any person in any community to aid in the recapture of fugitive slaves. Failure to cooperate with a Marshal resulted in a $5000 fine and imprisonment, a stiff penalty for those days.

In the 1960s the Marshals were on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement, mainly providing protection to volunteers. In 1962, John F. Kennedy ordered the Marshals to accompany James Meredith, an African American, who wished to register at the University of Mississippi. Their presence on the campus provoked riots at the university, requiring President Kennedy to send in the army to pacify the crowd.

Just as America has changed over the past two centuries, so has its federal justice system – from the original 13 judicial districts, to 94 districts spanning the continent and beyond; and with tens of thousands of federal judges, prosecutors, jurors, witnesses, and defendants involved in the judicial process. The Marshals Service has changed with it, not in its underlying responsibility to enforce the law and execute the orders issued by the court, but in the breadth of its functions, the professionalism of its personnel, and the sophistication of the technologies employed. These changes are made apparent by an examination of the contemporary duties of the modern Marshals Service.

Except for suits by incarcerated persons or (in some circumstances) by seamen, U.S. Marshals no longer serve process in private civil actions filed in the U.S. federal courts. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, process may be served by any U.S. citizen over the age of 18 who is a not a party or an attorney involved in the case.

Famous Marshals

Some famous or otherwise noteworthy US Marshals include:

See also

US Marshals in movies

External links

Personal tools
In other languages