Locked courtrooms are potential safety hazard
Font size: [A] [A] [A]
Various V.I. judges' practice of locking the doors of the courtroom during opening and closing arguments and jury instructions ("Judges' policy of locking doors during trial could be a violation of U.S. Constitution," The Daily News, March 1, 2013) may best be a legal matter left up to the experts involved, but alarm at this practice is the very practical matter of what happens in the event of a fire?
Locking any exit doors with large groups of people inside is not the best policy due to the fact that if a fire would happen to occur, you can't count on that one person with the key opening those doors in time.
In fact, in the event of an emergency, this person may be injured and unable to perform their duties in getting those doors open.
The courtroom is filled with a large jury, alternate jurors, prosecutors, defense teams, court clerks, lay people, security guards and a judge. That certainly is a huge number of people who truly need to move quickly and not be hampered in any way - and moving very quickly is the difference between surviving or not.
- Maria Ferreras, St.Thomas.