Local News

New Justice Center Aims to Ease Overcrowding

Posted February 11, 2008
Updated February 12, 2008

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— The number of court cases in Wake County is expected to more than double by the year 2030. To keep up with the growth, the county is building a new justice center in downtown Raleigh.

The county held its first public meeting Monday night on the $214 million project.

Up to 5,000 people end up at the Wake County Courthouse every day, and more than 200,000 cases were filed last year.

"With the volume of people coming in and the number of cases we have in Wake County, we literally are running out of room in our current space,” Wake County Clerk of Superior Court Lorrin Freeman said.

With so many cases, it is difficult to find enough space for employees.

"When they run out of space in the clerk's office, the files are taken up to the 12th floor to a room dedicated entirely to old files," Freeman said. "It's inefficient having to get from here to all the way on the 12th floor to retrieve a file and then get back down to the first."

The new Wake County Justice Center will help solve the problem. It will also house some county offices.

County officials said the project will accommodate the growth and increased traffic in the court system for the next 30 to 50 years.

"One key to our society is that we offer fair and swift justice to all and to be able to do that we need a courthouse that can offer that service to the citizens in that manner," Wake County Facilities Director Phil Stout said.

Construction will begin in 2009 and is scheduled to be complete by 2013. The county is hosting three more public meetings from 5 to 7 p.m. at the following locations:

Knightdale Town Hall (Monday, Feb. 18)
950 Steeple Square Court
Knightdale

Northern Regional Center (Tuesday, Feb. 12)
350 E. Holding Ave.
Wake Forest

West Regional Library (Tuesday, Feb. 19)
4000 Louis Stephens Drive
Cary

12 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • NeverSurrender Feb 12, 2008

    A workflow system would make managing the docket that much easier, particularly for pro forma offences such as traffic violations...and as a side effect, eliminate the basis for a lot of the bogus continuances that are granted.

    It wouldn't be too hard to carve a bit out of that $214M for state of the art projection systems/screens in the courtrooms, state of the art networking (wired/wireless), an awesome data centre that could store the next 500 years worth of documents...the whole nine yards.

    But I'm probably living in a fantasy world thinking that non-technical people in the legal system would give up their cherished paper.

    I remember an economy drive we had in Florida where the mandate from Tallahassee was everything on microfiche.

    By the time the "economy drive" was done, the state was consuming four times the paper they had previously (my favourite being the 9 1/2 x 14 greenbar accounting and finance report...10K pages / 4 copies per page).

    All for a last page total value!

  • NeverSurrender Feb 12, 2008

    "Neversurrender...hahahaha. Your comment made me laugh...because it's all so true! Government will never do anything efficiently. NEVER."

    ---

    The truly sad thought is that the bureaucrat complaining about that round trip probably secretly doesn't mind it because he can blow several minutes getting up there, several more hunting about for the file, and then more time coming back...thus taking a docket search from about two minutes to an hour if they're really creative.

    Maybe Elcid can help me out on this one but having observed the forests sacrificed to court proceedings, I'm thinking a lot of the paper could be eliminated in favour of electronic documents.

    I realise the lawyers and judges would probably fuss at the start...until they don't have to carry in several banker's boxes worth of garbage for the one document you truly care about.

    Once the conversion from paper to electronic truly takes hold, then it'd be relatively simple to build a workflow from filing to disposition.

  • PaulRevere Feb 12, 2008

    Neversurrender...hahahaha. Your comment made me laugh...because it's all so true! Government will never do anything efficiently. NEVER.

  • fyiarp Feb 12, 2008

    Yay for the Hall of Justice. Maybe they can get "Stormy" of the Hurricanes to be a member.

  • NeverSurrender Feb 12, 2008

    "When they run out of space in the clerk's office, the files are taken up to the 12th floor to a room dedicated entirely to old files," Freeman said. "It's inefficient having to get from here to all the way on the 12th floor to retrieve a file and then get back down to the first."

    ---

    Clue for the clueless...that's why we have these foot warmers called "computers" and these devices called "scanners" to convert paper documents to electronic format. "Hard drives" are really great for storing these electronic documents.

    And miracle of miracles, there's this concept called a "client-server" network that allows a user on one computer to see stuff that's stored on the hard drive of another computer. Add a layer of security to keep people from seeing what they ought not to and voila...no more useless trips to the 12th floor!

    It's depressing to think that technology that existed in the 1980s and became a commodity in the 1990s is apparently beyond the intellectual grasp of these people.

  • twc Feb 12, 2008

    TheAdmiral, you are exactly right! If it was a privately owned business I'm sure a second and third shift would make much more sense than a new building and location! I guess one's view is influenced by who supplies the funds!!

  • 37 Feb 12, 2008

    Justice Center? Is Commissioner Gordon going to move his office there?

    I was just in the courthouse today (not charge w/ anything, thank goodness). It is an amazingly crowded place. I sympathize with those who have to work there daily. I walked from the first floor to the 11th floor because the elevators simply were not moving.

  • Steve Crisp Feb 12, 2008

    It took 15 months to build the Empire State Building. 16 months to build the Pentagon. 26 months to build the World Trade Towers. Three years to build the Hoover Dam. Exactly four years to build the George Washington Bridge.

    But it's gonna take these fools OVER four years to build a fifteen story courthouse?

  • TheAdmiral Feb 12, 2008

    I think we should have Night Court. Bring back the cast and Git-r-done!

    The fact of the matter is that they would be able to have money streams 24/7 if they thought outside of the 9-5 montra of State and County Government.

    The fact of the matter is that the buildings are there 24 hours a day and they do not use them but 1/3 of the day. Here's your sign!

  • whatelseisnew Feb 12, 2008

    They keep continuing cases because their is money in dem dar cases. Consider this, most of your politicians are lawyers, they right the laws; the lawyers get involved in various ways dealing with all these laws; and last but not least; all the Judges are lawyers. It really is just one great big long circular money trail. If we want to break the cycle we need to quit electing lawyers.

More...