The ladies at the Lowndes County circuit clerk”s office haven”t had much of a break — finalizing results from the Aug. 2 primaries and now gearing up for next Tuesday”s runoff elections.
And if that weren”t enough, the 16th District Circuit Court began processing cases in Lowndes County on Monday.
The current session of circuit court will last for 15 days, and Circuit Clerk Haley Salazar advises patience when conducting business at the courthouse this week.
“You”ve still got one door to get through and the metal detector (while court is in session),” Salazar said.
Renovations recently were made to make it more comfortable for those waiting to be seen in court and to clear the hallways. Waiting rooms and attorney offices were added, so people would no longer have to wait (and consult with lawyers) in congested hallways; still, the first day has been a bit chaotic.
So many cases are processed during circuit-court sessions, the courthouse is packed. And two new cells, added for prisoners who are facing trial, weren”t ready for use, so the new waiting rooms were being use to house prisoners.
“The hallways still have been pretty congested this first day, but that should go away tomorrow (when the cells are ready),” Salazar said.
In Lowndes County, officials have worked out a staggered schedule, so less people have to report to the courthouse at the same time. Currently, judges begin processing cases at about 9 a.m., and for those criminal cases not set for a particular time, defendants wait until they are called, which could be several hours. They also could be forced to come back the next day.
With a staggered schedule, defendants will report to the courthouse during blocked time periods. The staggered schedule will be in place during the next session of Lowndes County Circuit Court, which starts the second Monday in November and lasts 17 days.
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