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Posted: 05/21/14


COURT CLOSURE

Above, the 42-1 District Court in Romeo is being evaluated by state agencies for a consolidation effort that would potentially move its operations to the 42-2 District Court in New Baltimore. County officials have said the consolidation could affect the efficiency of law enforcement and court proceedings for northern Macomb County communities.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

Romeo district court
closure under evaluation

Court operations could move to New Baltimore

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      The 42-1 District Court in Romeo could see its operations moved elsewhere in the near future.
       Representatives with the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) visited the court twice last month to analyze the court's operations and determine if consolidating it within another district court is feasible.
       A report from the state offices is expected to be provided by the end of this month.
       John Nevin, communications director for the SCAO, declined to comment on the study except to say the department only provides analysis and advice. The actual decision to consolidate the courts would be made by Macomb County government.
       The court, located on 33 Mile Road west of Powell Road, serves the communities of Armada, Bruce, Memphis, Ray, Romeo, Richmond and Washington.
       If the building is shut down, the court's operations would likely be housed at the 42-2 District Court on 23 Mile Road in New Baltimore.
       Judge Denis LeDuc of the 42-1 District Court said he didn't believe it was advisable for the court to move from the greater Romeo area, saying it would take officers off the road and increase driving distances for citizens with hearings.
       "It'd be a great deal of travel time for citizens and law enforcement officers to go all the way over about 45-50 minutes to the New Baltimore site," he said.
       County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said he could see the consolidation affecting patrols in Washington Township if a deputy on the day shift had to go to court for cases in the northern communities.
       "It would be somewhat of an impact if that occurred," he said. "They leave now, but it (the 42-1 Court) is in close proximity."
       Romeo Police Chief Greg Paduch couldn't be reached for comment by print deadline.
       LeDuc said discussions about consolidation have occurred at least three times in the past. He said it came up again around five years ago, but the proposal was rejected.
       "We don't feel it's any more advisable or feasible now than it was then," he said. "This building is well-run and it's paid for, and to start expending county funds to rebuild New Baltimore . . . I certainly would be arguing against that."
       LeDuc could only speculate on the reasons why consolidation is under consideration, but said it may be to run the courts more efficiently and save on costs and expenses.
       Despite the potential closure, LeDuc said the court is still moving forward with plans to expand its operations to become a drug/sobriety court in 2015.
       LeDuc said a drug court would resolve the issue of always locking up offenders by offering intensive probation and counseling.
       "I think things look very favorable," he said.
      


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