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Lane Justice Court closes

 

From Lane County: 

 

The Final Day for the Central Lane Justice Court-April 27, 2012

If you call the Central Justice Court in Springfield, you will hear this message: “This court is no longer open.”  It then goes on to say, if you have questions about payment, contact the Florence Justice Court, after May 1.  Earlier this year, Lane County officials announced the Central Lane Justice Court, in Springfield, would be closing.  Starting May 1st, it will be consolidated with the Western Lane County Florence Justice Court.   Boxes have been packed and stacks of books moved either to Florence or Lane County storage facilities.

For Central Lane Justice Court Judge Gary Carl, it’s a sign of the times.  He was a retired judge when he was called upon to take over the Central Lane Justice Court in February 2011.  Judge Carl says, there’s a place for Justice Court in our system of justice.  It’s a place where he felt he could make a difference in the lives of those who are charged with what are considered lower level crimes, such as skipping school.  He says, he was able to look kids straight in the eye and give them a stern warning.  He knew they were listening.  He would be rewarded when he’d learn that a kid, who stood in front of him, had indeed, turned his life around.  Other issues settled in Justice Court, disputes between landlords and tenants, dog control issues, small claims, and issues dealing with weigh masters.

Judge Carl says, when the Sheriff’s Department stopped issuing citations and when fewer and fewer court appearances were scheduled, the Justice Court lost revenue.  As the court lost revenue, budgets shrank and the decision was made to close the court in Springfield.

When the court opened, in March, 1990, current Supervisor at Eugene Municipal Court, Gabrielle Glenn was hired to be the Senior Court Clerk.  She was told to buy a few office items, hire a staff, (she hired 2 full time and one part time clerks) and open the doors.  Before starting the Justice Court, all the business was done through Circuit Court.  Now that Central Justice is closing, what can’t be scheduled at Florence Justice Court will be scheduled back in Lane Circuit Court.  Although she has not worked in Justice Court for several years, Glenn says what the community will miss with the closing of the Springfield court, is the relaxed atmosphere of the court. 

Officially, the last day of business is Friday, April 27th.  Central Lane Justice Court had 4 clerks.  One will be transferred to the Florence court. Judge Carl will be retiring, again.

For information about fines and court activities, call the Florence Justice Court (after May 1) : (541) 997-2535.