Members of the Letcher County Grand Jury, which served a little over eight months and returned 232 felony indictments, recently presented Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright with their final report detailing suggestions and repairs to enable the courthouse to run more efficiently.
The Letcher County Grand Jury inspected the courthouse, and reported it to be in overall good repair. Some repairs or modifications were recommended, however, including:
• Letcher County Jail — “Overcrowded. Cracks in floor tile need repair. Repair the existing security camera for use in arraignments rather than transporting inmates from the jail to the courtroom and thereby make the process proceed in a safer and more efficient manner.”
• Courthouse Hallway (second floor) — “Need additional benches for people waiting for court cases. Cracked floor tiles need repair. Additional wastebaskets. Enforcement of the litter ordinances applying to the courthouse.”
• Circuit Clerk’s Office — “New floor covering. Floor is stained excessively and is showing signs of its age.”
• Department of Driver’s Licensing — “Needs new counter covering. Additional staff to meet the demands of the public, particularly during typical lunch hours when most only have half an hour to renew their license.”
• Circuit Courtroom — “Replace several water-stained ceiling tiles. Replace badly worn carpet. Repair the heating and cooling system.”
• Grand Jury Room — “Heating and cooling system does not properly cool or heat the room. You either freeze or burn up, it seems. This is a problem noted by many prior grand juries. Provide a permanent meeting place for the grand jury. Provide coff ee and other suitable refreshments for the petit jury and the grand jury.”
• District Courtroom — “Replace damaged ceiling tiles. Provide for additional seating for those who must wait outside in the hallway until their case is called by the Judge. Restore the video link to the jail to allow hearings and arraignments to occur in a more efficient and secure manner.”
• County Judge/Executive’s Offi ce — “Overall in good condition, no obvious repairs to the building were observed. Provide a directory of the departments and employees of county government.”
• Sheriff ’s Office — “Although there is a great deal of additional space for the Sheriff ’s Office at its new location in the old Letcher County Health Department building, the lack of parking at the courthouse is no better at the new location of the Sheriff ’s Office.
The distance between the new location of the Sheriff ’s Office and the courthouse, while not great, certainly lessens the overall security of the courthouse. The grand jury recommends that additional deputies other than courtroom bailiff s be assigned on the busiest days to act as additional security for the courthouse.
• County Court Clerk’s Space — “The new equipment and new space in the former Sheriff ’s Office are evidence of progress in motion.”
• PVA Office — “A very cheerful group of public servants, all of whom seem more than willing to assist you with any tax issues.”
• General Courthouse — “Have a permanent meeting place available for grand jury proceedings. Replace cracked floor tiles. Paint the areas of heavy traffic. Provide additional handicap parking and handicap access to the courthouse. Install additional wastebaskets. Enforce the smoking ban inside the courthouse.”