Chief judge, chief probation officer lobby commissioners again on space needs 


By SEÁN O'DONOGHUE 

Managing Editor 

HAMLIN - The ongoing discussion regarding space needs at the Lincoln County Courthouse continued at the May 16, 2019 regular session of the Lincoln County Commission in Hamlin. Chief Probation Officer Jerry Swanson, II, was joined by Chief Circuit Judge Jay Hoke for a discussion with the commissioners on the cramped conditions at the seat of county government. 

“We need space,” Judge Hoke said opening his remarks. He further noted that new judicial system innovations and efforts to save on the jail bill mean that the courthouse has to deal with larger numbers of post-conviction individuals beyond the confines of jail or prison. In addition, the judge spoke about the probation service having to handle pre-conviction individuals. He, therefore, said that the court service was asking for all the help it can get so that people are not working on top of each other. The new pre-conviction program is expected to be in place this summer, the judge indicated. 

Commissioner Charles Vance spoke about prior discussions, including the possibility of moving family court to the largely vacant former Trinity Methodist Church, purchased a number of years ago for $500,000 by the commission. The commissioner noted that such a move could lead to reimbursement by the state court system. Vance voiced a willingness to speak to Family Judge Ron Salmons once again. 

“Everybody wants sufficient space,” said the judge. “It’s a lot like trying to put six pounds of rice in a five-pound bag,” he added. 

After further discussion, the various parties agreed to convene a meeting between the department heads. The commission would be represented by the commission administrator and a commissioner. 

The Lincoln Journal understands that a meeting between the various parties took place last week.