Retired Wisconsin judge John Roemer was shot and killed Friday by a suspect he sentenced to prison in 2005, prompting a call from the American Bar Association for increased judicial security.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice said that the incident appeared to be a “targeted act” by Douglas K. Uhde, who was sentenced by Roemer to six years in prison for armed burglary in 2005.
Police were called to Roemer’s home Friday morning and attempted to negotiate with Uhde, who was inside the home. When police entered the residence, they found Roemer zip-tied and deceased. They also found Uhde inside with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The American Bar Association Monday released a statement expressing its sadness and shock at the killing of Judge Roemer, noting that “[j]udicial independence is the bedrock of our democracy.” The ABA said that judges’ physical safety is imperative and “needs to be a priority if our justice system is to function effectively.” The Association noted that “in 2021, the U.S. Marshals Service reported more than 4,500 threats against our judiciary, a five-fold increase from 2015.”
In response to Judge Roemer’s murder, the ABA called on the US Congress:
to act to improve the security of our judges with stronger measures and increased funding. Passage of the bipartisan Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act would enhance judicial security by restricting the disclosure and publication of judges’ personally identifiable information.
Law enforcement transported Uhde to a medical facility where he remains in critical condition. Police have not yet charged Uhde with any crime.