October 3, 2002 Indianapolis Star editorial

Inadequate City-County Building's hidden costs

October 3, 2002
Problems with the City-County Building have been highlighted lately in the debate about jail overcrowding. The limitations of the building, overcrowded and stretched to its limits, create costs to taxpayers beyond the obvious.

As one who has worked in the building 15 years, I can mention one of those costs: The fact that jurors cannot be insulated from the parties to a case has at times caused a mistrial. Considering that jury rooms are often next door to holding cells and all share the hallways, it is surprising mistrials are not frequent.

When a mistrial occurs, the court staff have to begin again. Costs are doubled and ultimately borne by the taxpayers. There's an emotional cost, too, to the parties and at times the justice system when a witness may be lost due to the delay. These costs should be weighed when we look for a solution.

Jane Conley