The admonition against constables and police officers in secretarial areas goes back to 2012, when Deputy Court Administrator Debra C French specifically recommended that "[c]onstables / police officers / members of the public should not have access to your case records, cash, financial records, etc. Constables / police officers / members of the public should never be in the secretarial area."
Judge Manwaring's refusal to follow this directive was first picked up in 2015 by Steve Barron when he was Controller. At the time, Judge Manwaring stated that Barron had exceeded his authority. "I believe this issue rests within the sound discretion of the Magisterial District Judge who was elected to manage and run the court." Manwaring went on to argue that a strict reading of this recommendation would prevent custodians from cleaning or contractors from doing necessary repairs.
After Barron's 2015 audit, Deputy Court Administrator Debra C French issued yet another Internal Control procedures memo in 2017, affirming that constables and police officers should be excluded from the secretarial area and adding, "Constables should not have keys or alarm codes to any district court."
I have been reliably informed that Judge Manwaring has provided keys to his court to favored constables.
Judge Manwaring states that access only exists for the limited purpose of conducting necessary paperwork, but Judge Koury concludes the purpose is irrelevant "because those viewing these actions may perceive Magisterial District Judge Manwaring as biased."
Judge Koury also responds to Manwaring's argument that custodians would be prevented from cleaning and that contractors would be unable to complete repairs. He notes they are only present when the office is closed. "Additionally, a reasonable person would not view the hypothetical presence of such individuals as affecting a Magisterial District Judge's honesty, impartiality, temperament or fitness to serve ... . Unlike custodial staff, constables and police officers are actively involved in cases that come before Magisterial District Judges."
Before he became a judge, President Judge Michael J Koury, Jr served as a magisterial district judge, so he understands what should and should not be happening on the frontlines of our judicial system.