"Who judges the Judges?"
The Special Judicial Squad (SJS) is the Internal Affairs unit of the Justice Department. They are the Judges that judge the Judges. SJS investigates allegations of corruption, unjudicial conduct and criminal activity within the ranks of the Mega-City Judges
Even Dredd has come under suspicion by them in the past. Some hound Dredd for his disregard for the chain of command and tendency to use his own judgement in important situations that affect the whole Justice Department. Others think that a judge that seems as incorruptible and as dedicated as Dredd must be too good to be true.
Their helmets and lawmasters have a skull badge on them and they wear special belt-buckles that have "SJS" instead of the Judge Shield. Their uniform is black rather than Blue or Navy-Blue.
The SJS is despised by other Judges due to their extreme methods, which include random searches and the torture of Judges during interrogations. While Dredd has clashed with Squad over their methods, he has considered them a useful branch and in 2080 they tried to recruit him.
The insane Judge Cal controlled the SJS during his series of assassinations which gained him the position of chief judge, further enhancing their notoriety. As head of SJS, Cal was able to blackmail numerous corrupt judges into helping him, ensuring that he had plenty of allies to assist him in his coup d'état. This evidence eventually came to light over twenty years later, by which time many of Cal's subverted judges had been promoted to very senior positions in the Justice Department, and there were several arrests. When Cal usurped power, the SJS (depicted as a sinister Praetorian Guard to go with "Judge Caligula") attempted to frame Dredd for murder, and later tried to assassinate him. SJS Judge Quimby assassinated Chief Judge Goodman. Cal used the SJS to keep the other judges and citizens in line.
Following Cal's death Judge McGruder was entrusted with the responsibility of leading the SJS and restoring its integrity. Since then the SJS has produced two more chief judges: McGruder herself, and Judge Volt.
In "The Interrogation", Dredd was abducted by SJS men under Judge Spiegl and viciously interrogated on spurious grounds. Dredd believed the SJS had turned corrupt again and that the body may be planning a coup, though it turned out to be a routine Random Physical Abuse Test of him instead (he passed). Years later, an RPA would go wrong and two SJS Judges were killed, and Spiegl and Dredd came to blows over it. The incident showed tension between SJS and Street Judges, who ignored the beating Dredd gave Spiegl.
Judge Niles was head of the SJS during Chief Judge McGruder's second term, and was part of a conspiracy to force her to resign when her mental health deteriorated. Once she left office, Chief Judge Volt appointed Niles to the ruling Council of Five.
By 2117, Sector 301 ("the Pit") was hideously corrupt and so were the local Special Judicial Squad, with the chief Judge Roth being in bed with the Frendz. This caused Dredd to set up an internal investigation outside of SJS control, consisting entirely of street judges led by Judge DeMarco and then by Judges Buell & Garcia. After the death of Roth, Buell and Garcia were placed in charge of the sector's SJS: Buell was surprised to realise he had a knack for hunting down bent judges.
Buell went on to become the head of the Squad in 2112 and part of the Council of Five. His deputy was Garcia until she was killed in action in 2134. In "Tour of Duty", it was Buell and Garcia's SJS who stormed in and arrested Chief Judge Sinfield after proving he had used criminal means to gain power.
From 2117 its headquarters was inside the Statue of Judgement (as well as the Public Surveillance Unit which was also based there); ironically Cal fell to his death from the top of the statue. The statue was destroyed by terrorists in 2134; and shortly afterwards a new headquarters building was depicted, named as "SJS Central" and suffering administration problems because of the statue's loss.
In the spin-off strip Insurrection, the SJS had a large army with vast warships – the Justice Control Divisions – that ensured MC-1 colony planets did not try to secede. In earlier spinoff Maelstron, SJS teams are sent to colony worlds with local Justice Departments to clear them of corruption.
Following the events of Day of Chaos in 2134, the SJS were discredited for not uncovering a nest of high-ranking Soviet agents. The SJS were also facing a massive reorganisation, being absorbed into a new Undercover Operations Division where Buell would be a subordinate. In 2014 (2136 in the strip), Buell was still on the Council, the reorganisation having been cancelled. But in December 2015 another SJS judge was shown on the Council in Buell's place.
Heads of SJSEdit
(This list is incomplete.)
- Judge Cal ????–2100 or 2101
- Judge McGruder 2101–2104
- Judge Niles 2112–2122
- Judge Buell 2122–2136 or 2137
Deputy Heads of SJSEdit
(This list is incomplete.)
- Judge Muncie ????–2122
- Judge Garcia 2122–2134
- The A-Z of Judge Dredd: The Complete Encyclopedia from Aaron Aardvark to Zachary Zziiz (by Mike Butcher, St. Martin's Press, March 1995, Template:ISBN)
- ↑ 2000 AD #518
- ↑ Judge Dredd Year One: Cold Light of Day ebook by Michael Carroll
- ↑ 2000 AD #86-90
- ↑ 2000 AD #1178-79
- ↑ 2000 AD #89
- ↑ 2000 AD #182
- ↑ 2000 AD #518
- ↑ 2000 AD #826
- ↑ 2000 AD #1692
- ↑ 2000 AD #954
- ↑ 2000 AD #108
- ↑ 2000 AD #1775
- ↑ 2000 AD #1794
- ↑ 2000 AD #1803
- ↑ Judge Dredd Megazine #367; also 2000 AD #1976 (2016)