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False Liens and Threats against U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Officers

During FPPOA's visit with Assistant Director Matt Rowland in May, National President Karin Storm and Northeast Regional President Craig Penet discussed the protection of probation and pretrial officers, specifically as it relates to the filing of false liens and threats. Assistant Director Rowland provided FPPOA with the following information, to pass along to all in the system.

At its March 2000 session, the Judicial Conference adopted the Criminal Law Committee's recommendation to seek legislation that would create a new federal offense for harassing or intimidating a federal official, including a judicial officer, with respect to the performance of official duties, including filing a lien on the real or personal property of that government official.

On January 8, 2008, the Court Security Act of 2007 (Pub. L. No. 110-177) was enacted. Among other provisions, the Act created a new federal offense, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 1521, which made it unlawful to file, attempt to file, or conspire to file, in any public record or in any private record which is generally available to the public, any false lien or encumbrance against the real or personal property of any government official on account of the performance of official duties by that individual, knowing or having reason to know that such lien or encumbrance is false or contains any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation. The offense is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both.

The AO has prepared guidance on what to do if a false lien is filed (the guidance was directed at judges, but is applicable to any judiciary official against whom a false lien is filed):

Also, the AO produced a short video (again intended for judges, but the advice is applicable to any judiciary official targeted by a false lien) that describes the steps to take when a false lien has been filed.