Monday, December 27, 2004

Legal Travels #2: ...And Thru the Woods

On Dec. 23, I toured the new Barron County Justice Center, located in Barron County (Barron, Wis.), in the Northwestern part of the state. My tour was led by Judge Edward Brunner, whose name may sound familiar from a recent state Supreme Court campaign. I visited court offices, such as probate and judges offices, as well as courtrooms, the District Attorney's office, 911 Call Center, and parts of the jail. I met District Attorney Angela Holmstrom, Judge James Babler, and also viewed demonstrations of courtroom technology. While I was impressed with several features that are going to be useful for improving court efficiency, I agreed with Judge Brunner that the courtrooms were too small. The bench area was sufficient, but the gallery had limited seating for any cases that hold public interest. I was also disappointed that there was no area for the public to complete any legal research, not even a room with just the statutes. They had something for this purpose in the old courthouse. For information and photographs of this new facility, see