Members of the county’s Budget and Finance Committee met at the courthouse Wednesday morning to observe people entering and leaving Judge Bart Stanley’s Circuit Courtroom.
County commissioners have started improvements to courthouse security, including installing a metal detector at the front door and only allowing visitors, including lawyers, to enter the courthouse through the front door.
Attorney Ryan J. Moore said, “Overall I think the increase in security measures are a good idea. However, three nearby jurisdictions, Putnam, Coffee and DeKalb counties that I have been to do not require lawyers to pass through the metal detectors. The lawyers are exempt.”
Commissioner Carl Bouldin said, “As of right now, we will be requiring everyone to go through the detectors.”
Commissioner Michael Martin sat in the jury box in order to get a bird’s eye view of courtroom proceedings. Commissioners Carl Bouldin, Terry Bell and Herschel Wells sat on the back-row benches. Commissioner Ken Martin was absent.
The courtroom consists of a jury box, which has seating for 12 jurors. The judge, court reporter, district attorney, public defenders, and up to 25 lawyers, bondsmen and Spanish interpreters sit in the front of the room.
There are eight benches in the courtroom. Approximately 30 male and female prisoners dressed in orange jumpsuits and most being chained and shackled sat on the left side of the room. Another 44 or so people scheduled to come before the judge sat on the right side of the room. Some going before the judge had to stand along the back wall.
Friends and family members of those scheduled to go before the judge waited on the first floor and many spilled out onto the front lawn of the courthouse.