Monday, August 01, 2016
Ind. Courts - "Crown Point City Court ordered out of historic courthouse"
From the NWI Times this weekend, a story by Phil Wieland - some quotes:
CROWN POINT — The City Court, which has used a courtroom in the historic Lake County Courthouse for 40 years, has been asked to vacate the premises by the end of August.From later in the story:
City Judge Kent Jeffirs said he was forwarded a letter July 18 from the Lake Court House Foundation giving notice of the termination of the lease. The court pays $1,000 a month for the use of the third-floor court and a small office for the court staff. Court sessions are held each Tuesday for cases involving local traffic tickets or things like small time thefts or battery with no serious injury.
"It was quite a surprise," said Jeffirs, who has been the judge for 13 years. "You would think a community court and a community building would warrant some discussion if they are planning on changing. I have not received any calls or notifications from the foundation. I'm disappointed they took action without talking to the mayor or the judge."
An effort was made a couple of years ago on the council to eliminate the court and have all the cases sent to the county courts. Councilman Robert Clemons said he and former Councilman Mark Schweitzer opposed it and succeeded in keeping it with the help of the judge, who showed the court pays for itself. The city would keep less of the money if the cases are handled by the county.
"Every year it seems we have a big to-do with someone on the council (over the court)," Clemons said. "Our officers can go there much easier, and we keep the money. It's ironic this comes up during budget time. I've got the support of the mayor, and I think I have the support of the council to keep it."
City Attorney David Nicholls said, "The court is a creation of the city by ordinance, so it is up to the city to provide the court its space. The legal department has gotten along well with the court and the judge, and the convenience of having it right in town is a definite benefit."
Jeffirs said, "I thought we were doing a service to the community by paying $1,000 a month to use the court. Apparently they don't need that money anymore. It amazes me the foundation that is supposed to be there for the community doesn't want the community court."
Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 1, 2016 10:21 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts