Among the victims in today's shooting in which Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was critically wounded was Federal Judge John Roll, who was killed.
From his biography on Judgepedia:
Roll began his career as a Bailiff in the Pima County Superior Court from 1972 to 1973. Roll also became an Assistant city attorney for the City of Tucson in 1973. Later in 1973, Roll became the Deputy county attorney dealing with criminal cases for Pima County from 1973 to 1980. Then in 1980, Roll joined the US Attorney's Office as an Assistant US Attorney for the District of Arizona from 1980 to 1987. While with the US Attorney's Office, Roll led the organized drug crimes task force specializing in large drug cases from 1982 to 1986 before becoming the lead civil attorney for the US Attorney's Office from 1986 to 1987. Then from 1987 to 1991, Roll was appointed as a State Appeals Judge in the Division Two Arizona Court of Appeals and while as appeals judge served as the Presiding Judge for Division Two from 1988 to 1991 before becoming vice chief judge in 1991. Later in 1991, Roll was a Criminal Superior Court Judge in the Pima County Superior Court before his nomination to the Federal Bench in 1991. Roll also served as a clinical instructor for the University of Arizona College of Law from 1978 to 1979....
Judge Roll in 2009, faced death threats after presiding over a $32 million civil-rights lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by illegal immigrants against an Arizona rancher. After Judge Roll ruled the case would be certified, threats came from talk-radio shows which fueled controversy and spurred audiences into making threats against the judge.
The Arizona Republic reported on the case.
In Arizona, U.S. Marshal David Gonzales said deputies who once investigated a handful of threats, typically hurled by defendants at a judge during sentencing, are now fielding three to four threats a week....
In February, when U.S. District Judge John Roll presided over a $32 million civil-rights lawsuit filed by illegal immigrants against an Arizona rancher, the Marshals Service was anticipating the fallout.
When Roll ruled the case could go forward, Gonzales said talk-radio shows cranked up the controversy and spurred audiences into making threats.
In one afternoon, Roll logged more than 200 phone calls. Callers threatened the judge and his family. They posted personal information about Roll online.
"They said, 'We should kill him. He should be dead,'" Gonzales said.
Roll, who is the chief federal judge in Arizona, said both he and his wife were given a protection detail for about a month.
"It was unnerving and invasive. . . . By its nature it has to be," Roll said, adding that they were encouraged to live their lives as normally as possible. "It was handled very professionally by the Marshals Service."
At the end of the month, Roll said four key men had been identified as threat makers.
The Marshals Service left to him the decision to press charges but recommended against it. Roll said he had no qualms about following their advice.
The recommendation was based on the intent of those making the threats.
"I have a very strong belief that there is nothing wrong with criticizing a judicial decision," he said. "But when it comes to threats, that is an entirely different matter."
Judge Roll was presumably not the primary target, but seemed just to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. But his story is instructive of the increasingly--and obviously--dangerous and violent rhetoric of the far right, fueled by hate radio and rightwing media.