Construction is scheduled to begin Monday at the downtown jury assembly building to create space for juvenile proceedings. For years, juvenile court has been located at the abandoned juvenile hall on Hollister Avenue. The move downtown will centralize court proceedings and save transportation costs of court staff, said Darrel Parker, CEO of the Superior Court.
But not everyone is thrilled. Initially, some defense attorneys protested the move would jeopardize the confidentiality of minors as they were moved around and through the building. They worried the court would blur the line between the way juvenile and the adult court system should operate.
“People passionately expressed their concerns,” Parker said. “Some really good points were made.” He said he invited those people to walk around the building and look at the plans. The move has been in the works for four years, he said.
Parker said fencing would be built to obscure the view from the street. In addition, he said, security guards will empty the lobby when the minors are brought in.
The construction, which is projected to cost about $135,000, is mostly for interior remodeling such as lighting and heating. And they will construct private space for attorneys to talk to their clients, he said.
Parker added the remodel would pay for itself by eliminating transportation costs from downtown each day for the bailiffs, court reporter, and security guards. “It makes it more efficient to reassign staff when the court goes dark,” he said.
Defense attorneys said they would closely monitor how families and minors are treated when they come to court.