U.S. Marshals' Dilemma

Serving Two Branches of Government Gao ID: GGD-82-3 April 19, 1982

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the various functions performed by the U.S. marshals. This report, the first in a series of three, concerns the organizational relationship of U.S. marshals to the Department of Justice and the Federal Judiciary, which is comprised of federal judges, the Judicial Conference of the United States, and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

U.S. Marshals are responsible, under separate legislation, for accomplishing missions and objectives of both the executive and judicial branches of the government. GAO believes that, as currently implemented, this is a difficult and unworkable management condition; the Director of the U.S. Marshals Service cannot properly manage law enforcement responsibilities assigned by the Attorney General, and the operation of the federal judicial process suffers. GAO stated that adding more resources could conceivably reduce, in the short term, the operating problems being encountered. However, the basic cause of the problems, the manner in which dual authority over U.S. marshals is exercised, would remain. Both branches of the government would still have authority to take actions which would hinder the ability of the other branch to accomplish its mission.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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