A PUBLICATION OF THE MARYLAND JUDICIARYWINTER-SPRING 2010 vol. 13, no. 1
The business of the court can’t stop: peace orders can’t wait; domestic violence doesn’t take a holiday. Then there are the piles of vital files that need to be kept in order.
Given the daunting task, it was a tribute to the court staff that it was almost ‘business as usual’ when the Allegany County District Court moved to new quarters last summer. There was extensive planning, packing and portaging before, during, and after the weekend move.
While it was a short move—the new District Court facilities are just next door—the preparation was long—more than two years of planning and several months actively preparing. The new accommodations are well worth it, says Administrative Clerk Kathleen Stafford. The new District Court facilities are larger and provide crucial improvements to assure security for the public, court personnel and judges. There is a separate elevator for law enforcement officers to escort detainees, an increased number of holding rooms, including separate holding rooms for men and women, and a room equipped with bulletproof glass for District Court commissioners’ meetings with detainees. Each of the two new courtrooms is as large as the largest of the old courtrooms.
Additionally, the new Clerk’s Office has been consolidated to one central area, and there is a public computer for immediate access to case records. Petitioners and respondents in domestic violence issues now wait in separate areas instead of sitting face-to-face or side-by-side as they did in the old courthouse. There are rooms for attorney-client conferences, as well as offices for the state’s attorney and public defenders.
Many staff members worked evenings and weekends to make sure all the details were covered. “We were packing right up until the move,” Stafford said. “It was an amazing effort by too many people to thank individually,” Stafford said. “Everyone involved in this move worked together wonderfully.”