Move into court annex convenient for those seeing state's attorney Business continues as office is in transit

October 08, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

It's nearly business as usual at the Carroll County state's attorney's office, which moved to the courthouse annex in Westminster after 10 years down the street at the Winchester Building.

The dust hasn't quite settled from Monday's move, in which more than 50,000 files, 500 boxes packed with office and other materials, furniture and hundreds of law books were transported from 125 N. Court St. to 55 N. Court St.

Despite the chaos, the state's attorney's office has remained open.

"Crews staffed the telephones [Monday] at both locations, and two staff members sat most of the day in lawn chairs to guard files until movers could load them on the trucks," said Tracy A. Gilmore, deputy state's attorney. "We never had to close."

The relocation means residents will have a one-stop shop for legal business. Besides the state's attorney, the annex houses Circuit and District courts offices, the District Court commissioner, public defender, and register of wills.

"It's really convenient for anyone needing to do business here," Gilmore said. "Being nearer the District Court commissioner also makes us much more victim-friendly in a time of crisis."

For instance, she said a victim of domestic violence could come in, file a complaint and receive other assistance in the building, instead of having to visit two locations.

"If she comes here first, we can offer advice and walk her through the process of filing a complaint [with a District Court commissioner] and getting a protective order [signed by a judge]," she said. "If she goes to a court commissioner first, she can be encouraged to stop here for further assistance."

The proximity to Circuit and District courts will be convenient for prosecutors, who often must carry 20 to 30 files to a courtroom.

The new offices are on the first floor in the south wing. Visitors will enter a small waiting room outside the office of the Bureau of Child Support and Enforcement, a branch of the state's attorney's office. A security door leads to a long hallway, providing access to prosecutors and support staff, including members of the units for victim witness assistance, domestic violence and family violence.

The south wing formerly was occupied by the administrative offices of the Carroll County schools, which moved to a new wing of the Winchester Building.

"The space is about the same, but it's configured much differently," Gilmore said. "Some offices are larger and some smaller, but they meet our needs more efficiently."

All prosecutors have private offices, which is preferable when they need to interview witnesses and victims, Gilmore said.

The logistics of the move were mind-boggling, she said.

It took three trucks and 23 workers to get it done after attorneys and support staff spent hundreds of hours packing. Switching telephones and reconnecting computers went without a hitch, she said.

Pub Date: 10/08/98

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