New courthouse in the cards


The prospect that the county will have a new courthouse has arrived far sooner than we’d anticipated.

Douglas County doesn’t actually do things very quickly. Witness the decade-long process to finish Martin Slough Trail.

But it appears that the ball is rolling. The county has a location and plans in place to figure out how to pay for the new building.

With 40 years under its belt, the Judicial Law Enforcement Center has served the people of Douglas County for a long time, during the county’s most burgeoning period of growth.

The new courthouse will differ from the previous three in that it will separate the jail from the courts.

That might not be a bad thing.

The 1898 lynching of Adam Uber might not have been required had the people of Douglas County had a little more confidence in the security at the old courthouse in Genoa. More than one felon had managed to dig their way out of that venerable hoosegow.

We’re told the jail in the basement of the Minden Courthouse saw prisoners actually poke their heads out through the top.

The distance of around 2 miles isn’t excessive and recognizes the fact that most people using the courtrooms aren’t coming from the jail, though there are some.

East Fork Justice Court has been conducting in-custody arraignments via video for years now. If the last few years has taught us anything, it’s that people don’t actually have to be in the same room to conduct business.

We wouldn’t replace anyone’s right to a trial of their peers or to face their accuser, but for most routine matters, transporting prisoners to and from the courthouse would be a waste of gas.

We’ve spent a lot of time haunting the halls of the Judicial Law Enforcement Center, and we recognize the very real need to separate accusers from the accused, jurors from the general public and ensure the security for both sides of the law-and-order equation.

Of course, the best laid plans often find themselves overwhelmed by larger events. We hope the plans for the new courthouse are not among them.


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