Kanawha County Public Defender George Castelle speaks Monday during the ceremony announcing the new courtroom and extra courtroom week in Circuit Judge Duke Bloom's chambers. (Photo by Kyla Asbury)
CHARLESTON – The Kanawha County Magistrate Court is planning to add a new courtroom to help with the amount of cases the county has.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Louis Bloom said the magistrates were also taking the next step and adding an extra fifth courtroom week to help with all of the cases.
The new courtroom will replace an existing office and will be a slightly smaller courtroom than the other courtrooms.
Supreme Court Administrative Director Steve Canterbury said the government is always looking for ways to better serve its people and this is one of those ways.
"We were trying to find a way to enhance the access of justice for the members of the public," Canterbury said. "I think Judge Bloom has found a good set of solutions for some of the clogging that has happened here."
Canterbury said County Commissioner Kent Carper helped with the money needed to convert the office into a courtroom.
"I would like to take Commissioner Carper for agreeing to put money into converting the office into a courtroom," Canterbury said. "The Supreme Court will be doing its part, too, and will be providing furniture and technology for the new courtroom."
Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants said the addition of the courtroom is a step in the right direction.
"Kanawha County deals will more cases than any other county in West Virginia -- almost 20,000 cases per year," Plants said. "One of the main problems from the prosecutor's perspective is that I've got numerous victims, lawyers, witnesses who sit out in the lobby, and it's like a cattle call. This system is definitely a step in a positive direction when you're working with crime victims."
Public Defender George Castelle said he believes the adding of the new courtroom and courtroom week will improve the justice system.
Bloom said scheduling for all magistrate court dates will also be centralized, which will also help keep things running smoothly.