United States Marshals Service (USMS)

The United States Marshals Service (USMS) is a Department of Justice federal law enforcement agency charged with ensuring the effective operation of the federal judiciary. The President appoints a U.S. Marshal for each federal district.

Title 28, Section 566 of the U.S. Code lays out the duties of the U.S. Marshals. Their primary duty is “to provide for the security and to obey, execute, and enforce all orders” of the federal courts. This entails providing security at federal courthouses and attending court sessions to ensure they proceed in an orderly fashion, e.g. by screening visitors to the courthouse and escorting the jury to and from the jury room. U.S. Marshals also “execute all lawful writs, process, and orders,” and “shall command all necessary assistance to execute its duties.” U.S. Marshals may also arrest individuals who commit a crime in his or her presence without a warrant. This gives the USMS the broadest arrest authority among all federal law enforcement agencies. Section 556(e)(1)(B) authorizes the USMS to investigate fugitive matters, and the USMS will often combine efforts with local law enforcement agencies to apprehend fugitives. Section 556(e)(1)(A) authorizes U.S. Marshals to protect “Federal jurists, court officers, witnesses, and other threatened persons in the interests of justice.” 

[Last updated in December of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]