Allegany County District Court Moves to New Location
(CUMBERLAND, Md. – May 27, 2009) How does a court move? The business of the court can’t stop: peace orders can’t wait; domestic violence doesn’t take a holiday. Then there are the vital files that need to be moved and kept in order – a thousand cartons and counting.
These and many other issues have been on the Allegany County District Court’s to-do list as the staff gets ready to move the court to its new location, 123 South Liberty St., Cumberland.
The move will begin Friday, May 29 and continue over the weekend through Monday, June 1.
While it’s a short move – the new District Court facilities are just next-door – the process has been 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 will wait in separate areas instead of sitting face-to-face or side-by-side as they do in the current courthouse. There are rooms for attorney-client conferences, as well as offices for the state’s attorney and public defenders.
Because of the move, the following changes will be in effect Friday, May 29, though Monday, June 1:
--Court cases: No cases will be heard in Allegany’s District Court on Friday, May 29, or Monday, June 1.Cases that had been scheduled for those days have been continued and reset.
--Domestic violence: People who come to file domestic violence cases on May 29 or June 1 will be directed to the Allegany County Circuit Court, 30 Washington St., Cumberland, which will be open during its regular hours, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
--Peace orders: District Court commissioners will respond to petitioners Friday, May 29, through Monday, June 1.
--Bond reviews: On May 29, bond reviews will be heard in the Circuit Court, and the District Court will coordinate with the Circuit Court and the Detention Center. Bond hearings will be held in the new District Court beginning Monday, June 1.
--All phone numbers will remain the same, but will not be operating from 8 a.m. to approximately 5 p.m. on Friday, May 29. The city police will issue police radios to District Court commissioners to keep communications operating.
Some of the offices and the two courtrooms have been furnished. Many staff members have been working evenings and weekends to make sure all the details have been covered. “We’ll be packing until Thursday night,” Stafford said. The technical installation, including computers and security systems, is scheduled to be completed by June 1.
“It has been an amazing effort by too many people to thank individually,” Stafford said. “Everyone involved in this move has worked together wonderfully.”
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