Most Viewed Stories
City Hall court working out well
Approximately 30 people sat comfortably in their seats inside the Porterville City Hall Friday morning, the second day of traffic court in its new location.
Because of budget cuts, the county court system closed down the Tulare Courthouse sooner than expected and has divided up cases there between the Visalia and Porterville courthouses
The increase in the criminal case load prompted the court to move traffic court that is held every Friday in Porterville, to City Hall because the courtroom used for that at the Porterville Courthouse is now being used for criminal cases.
So far, it has worked out well, said both those with the court and City Manager John Lollis.
On Friday, Judge David Wooten handled about 30 arraignments. Another 20 or so trials were scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and run the rest of the day. There is also a small amount of time allotted for civil cases.
“Everything went smoothly, no major issues,” said Deanna Jasso, the Tulare County Court Administrative manager, of the first day of court at City Hall on Sept. 7.
Lollis said the only glitch was that some people thought they could pay their traffic fines at city hall.
“We’re not taking money for the court,” he said.
On Friday, signage was clearly placed not only informing those there for traffic court where to go, but that fines would have to be paid at the courthouse. Wooten stressed that when he began court.
“If you want to make a payment, you need to go to the courthouse at 87 E. Morton,” he said.
Charles Adkins, the first to be called, said there was no inconvenience having to go to City Hall.
“It’s about the same as going to Tulare,” said Adkins, who is from Tipton.
He added there was no problem with parking.
Traffic court is mostly for moving violation tickets that were issued in the past 30 to 60 days.
Beginning at 8:30 a.m., people who have not already paid their fine are arraigned and can enter a plea. If they plead guilty, they are given instructions on how to pay the fine. If they plead not guilty, they are given a date to come back to court for trial.
In addition to the judge, there are two court clerks and two bailiffs at City Hall.
Jasso said the arrangement will continue until the new South County Justice Center is completed late next year.