Ely Courthouse Called Old, Dangerous Place by Justice Department

A U.S. Department of Justice report says the 101-year-old Ely courthouse should no longer be used for criminal or civil cases.

The report by the U.S. Marshals Service says the home of the White Pine County District Court does not meet minimum security standards because of its poor design.

For example, someone on the District Court witness stand can make physical contact with a judge or jurors.

Prisoners are brought to court in the same elevator used by judges and other courthouse workers.

And they share the bathroom with everyone else in the building, including six armed officers who are present during inmate hearings.

The county needs some $15 million to upgrade the building.

Governor Jim Gibbons says he's behind new funding, but so far, nothing has been passed in the Legislature.

District Judge Dan Papez says judges will do what's necessary to protect people, including moving some cases to Las Vegas.
Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-12-23-07 1631EST

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