November 25, 2002 WIBC 1070

Indy Lawyers, Judges Outgrowing City-County Building

November 25, 2002
[WIBC News] - Local judges and lawyers say Marion County's court system has outgrown the City County Building. A committee met Monday for the first time to make the case for a new justice center to be built.

Marion County Judge Cynthia Ayres says it's been known for many years that the courts would eventually need more space and better space to operate efficiently. Now, she'd like to see a new, separate court facility in the next five to seven years.

Ayres says crowding at the lock up and in the courts should be looked at simultaneously.

Ideally, she says the lock up and the courts should be housed in the same building, which could be difficult because plans for a new inmate processing center are already under way.

The City County Building opened in 1963 with space for 20 courtrooms. Now there are 30 courts in Marion County. Judge

Ayres says a big problem is that prisoners are transported between court and the holding cells via the same corridors used by the general public.

In addition, another problem is created when attorneys often counsel their clients through the door of a cell that's crowded with other prisoners.

She'd like to see a separate facility for the courts built in the next five to 10 years. According to one estimate a new facility would cost more than 100 million dollars.

Tony Felts