Friday, Jul 01, 2016
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Municipal Court clears some space

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Defiance Municipal Court has been very, very crowded for a long time, says Judge John Rohrs III, presiding over a case.


DEFIANCE - After just nine days on the job, Mayor Bob Armstrong has a hefty task at hand today: He s overseeing the move of city hall.

Office supplies, city files, and even some furniture were expected to be moved throughout the day from the current Defiance City Hall to an annex only blocks away on Perry Street.

The move is expected to give the space-constrained Defiance Municipal Court additional areas like client-attorney rooms, a jury room, and waiting spaces, among other upgrades.

“It s been very, very crowded for a long time,” Municipal Court Judge John Rohrs III said of his court facility. “We ve just been waiting to see what will happen.”

Last month, before he took office, Mr. Armstrong approached the judge and told him he planned to move the second floor of city hall, which in recent years has housed the mayor, the administrator, the law director, and finance and human resources departments.


Defendants waiting for their cases to be called and spectators wait in the pews of the often crowded Defiance Municipal Court.


The offices should be open Monday in their new location, with the exception of the finance department. It may remain awhile at the old city hall.

Mr. Armstrong decided on the move to give the court, and possibly even the police and fire departments on the first floor, more office space.

When visitors reach the second floor, they typically notice a crowd of people sitting in a hallway, waiting to pay court fines or waiting for their cases to be heard.

Over the last decade, Judge Rohrs said the court has undergone a few minor expansions, but he said he and his employees are in need of additional rooms, as well as a larger courtroom area.

Attorney tables are stacked one behind the other instead of side by side because of a lack of room. A court probation employee is forced to work in a makeshift office in the building s basement.

Judge Rohrs said he had consulted an architect about drawing up plans. No blueprints or timelines have been decided, he said.

“As I say, we ll take it a step at a time,” Judge Rohrs said of the project. “When we do it, we want to do it right.”

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