Crime & Courts

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Judicial center work space offers improvements

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District Attorney Ashley Wright saw the obvious advantage when her offices were moved into the new courthouse last year.

Judge Carl Brown walks though a hallway that enables judges to go from their chambers to the courtrooms without being exposed to the public.  ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Judge Carl Brown walks though a hallway that enables judges to go from their chambers to the courtrooms without being exposed to the public.

After years of meeting a courier halfway between the Municipal Building and 501 Greene St., she said it’s nice to walk down the hall to her office and grab a court file. But she wasn’t counting on some of the minor benefits, including a dedicated grand jury room that doubles as a meeting space. In their old offices, a lot of meetings were held in the kitchen.

“It was the biggest area,” Wright said.

The second-floor district attorney’s office also features interview rooms and a more secure evidence vault.

The biggest change has been going from two courtrooms to 17. Prosecutors are assigned to judges and typically will not move between courtrooms, as private attorneys must do on a busy day. But there was still a period of adjustment learning the layout of the courthouse and the new “pit” area where the lawyers and defendants stand between the public gallery and judge’s bench.

The biggest courtrooms feature podiums on wheels that prosecutors can move around, overhead projectors and a retractable screen that drops down from the ceiling. The combined effect allows prosecutors to efficiently show PowerPoint presentations and evidence to jurors.

“We’ve come a long way from flip charts on easels,” Wright said.


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