Most Mecklenburg courts to close during DNC

Most Mecklenburg courts to close during DNC

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by GLENN COUNTS / NewsChannel 36

Bio | Email | Follow: @GCountsWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on August 22, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 22 at 6:25 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The courts are one of the primary legs of the criminal justice system, but the week of the Democratic National Convention, the Mecklenburg County Courthouse could resemble a ghost town.

"It’s not really in anticipation of protesters. In fact, if we were looking at that being the primary factor we would want to add courts, not cancel them," said Chief District Court Judge Lisa Bell.

Bell said that so many streets will be blocked off that it won’t be practical to run court.

"It will be difficult to have a meaningful hearing if you can't be certain that all of the players will get into the building in a timely manner,” said Bell.

Only three courts will be open for business, including the first appearance court, which will be used for demonstrators. That court will be open for a special Labor Day session. The Civil Domestic Violence Court and the Juvenile Court will both be open also.

The Juvenile Court will operate on Tuesday and Thursday and handle children in DSS custody or in detention.

No other courts will be open and magistrates won’t even be allowed to perform marriages.

"If you’re planning on trying to get married during that week you might want to reconsider it," said Bell.

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