Criminal Justice

Evicted by Library, Ark. Judge Holds Court in Hallway


A judge in Pine Bluff, Ark., has faced one of the biggest challenges of his career in recent weeks: hearing misdemeanor cases without a courtroom.

Concerned about safety issues and citing a problem with police parking in prime spaces, the local library terminated at the end of 2007 a lease under which the District Court of Pine Bluff had heard cases for six years in its basement theater, reports the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. However, no new arrangements have been made for an alternative courtroom, so Judge Waymond Brown has had to make do with makeshift space elsewhere, including another court’s lobby.

That leaves the judge looking a bit like a hallway monitor as he hears cases “stand[ing] beside defendants as if they’re mingling at a cocktail party,” the newspaper recounts.

“It’s been the most frustrating experience of my life, administratively anyway,” the judge says.

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