COURTROOMS

The existing two courtrooms are heavily used. Including the courts in this project will provide two criminal (juried courtrooms) and one family/small claims courts. We will gain flexibility and efficiencies, as well as better functionality for us and our visiting judges. Other benefits include:

  • Wisconsin Supreme Court Rule 68.06 standard states court facilities should have a secure access area. Though not currently mandated, this is an opportunity to follow the standard and provide a secure corridor. Benefits of a secure corridor include:

    • Inmates will no longer be escorted through public corridor​s

    • Increased safety for inmates

    • Decreased risk for inmate escape

    • Victims and their families will not be exposed to the inmate (which can be very hard on them) while waiting for trial

    • Reduction in passing of contraband (drugs, guns, knives, etc.)

  • Upgraded courthouse security​

  • It would provide room for a possible future second judge

    • Trempealeau County currently has one judge. However, the court systems also utilizes a part-time Family Court Commissioner to conduct certain hearings. The court system has a number of visiting judges who preside over cases where the judge has a conflict or is substituted

    • Both courtrooms are currently used by the Judge, visiting judges, and the Family Court Commissioner

    • In the proposed building project the county is looking to meet the court system needs for the next 30-50 years

    • Case load studies (which look at three-year averages) indicate Trempealeau County may likely need a second judge in the next 10 years (see District Court Administrator Letter below)

    • Building a second courtroom now better positions the County to accommodate a second judge when needed and the space can be utilized for other purposes in the meantime

    • If the court were to have two judges in the future, the Family Court Commissioner and visiting judges would not have any place to conduct court proceedings in the existing facility

  • Improved ability to meet inmates legal rights to be in courtroom in front of judge​

  • The plan provides extra space for jury selection and staging which is especially important in meeting public health recommendations related to COVID-19, or any future pandemic where social distancing is required

For more information regarding the judicial workload and facilities needs of Trempealeau County, please see letter from Seventh Judicial District Court Administrator, Patrick G. Brummond.