A look inside the new Lubbock Municipal Court
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - It’s the latest facility to be finished as part of the City of Lubbock’s Public Safety Improvements Project and, complete with an escape door in one of the courtrooms, the Lubbock Municipal Court is providing staff and citizens safety, comfort and convenience.
“Now that we have a new facility, we’re trying to accommodate it with the best features, best technology that we can have here, that will provide for a fair trial, that would be more informative,” Judge Jorge Hernandez said. “It’s going to add a lot to the person who’s going to want to try a case here in municipal court or just come visit or if they want to pay a citation or set it up for trial.”
The facility west of Citizens Tower on the corner of 14th Street and Avenue L is still awaiting a few finishing touches, like the signage on the outside, but is welcoming visitors to its eight lobby windows or two courtrooms to resolve matters pertaining to traffic tickets, hearings and trials.
“At the old place, we had one big courtroom and one small one,” Judge Hernandez said. “The small one was not equipped for a jury trial. It was equipped for smaller-type hearings that don’t require a jury, such as a property hearing, dangerous animal hearings, things like that. Now, we have two courtrooms and we can have jury trials in either courtroom.”
Judge Hernandez also touts the video capabilities in those courtrooms, accommodations for the hearing-impaired and even the bulletproof judge benches along with an escape door.
“When the architects met with us trying to draw plans for this new municipal court security was a big issue, especially with what’s been going on throughout the country,” Judge Hernandez said.
He tells KCBD those designs also allow the municipal court to provide conference rooms for attorneys and their clients or witnesses as well as administrative conference rooms and offices that provide better functionality.
Hernandez said they continue to make improvements, including with the waiting system in the lobby and are also awaiting the completion of the greenspace and plaza outside.
“As far as people coming in, I think they’re going to enjoy the facilities, because we’re going to have screens telling them when they’re going to be up at a particular window, we’re going to have a queue-less system to help out,” Hernandez said. “It’s going to be a lot more convenient for the citizen who comes into Municipal Court.”
The $60 million Public Safety Improvements Project includes the construction of the Lubbock Municipal Court, Lubbock Police Department Patrol Division Stations and the LPD Headquarters, currently under construction south of the Citizens Tower parking garage, as well as a property warehouse/crime lab.
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