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See you in court

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader


You can learn quite a bit about a community by visiting its courthouse. In most counties, the courthouse serves as the center of town. Many of the ninety-two counties in Indiana still use their original courthouses. Only a few were lost to water or fire.

More bad things happen than good inside a courthouse. Lawsuits are filed there. Most disputes end up there even though they started somewhere else. Marriages are dissolved there. Itís a place where parents can lose their rights to be parents. Victims relive crimes and families watch judges send their loved ones to prison.

Some great things happen inside a courthouse like adoptions and weddings.

In some counties, a courthouse might be the home for multiple county departments, such as the treasurer, assessor, prosecutor and auditor, to name a few. Other counties might have newer buildings across the street or down the block for additional courtrooms or government departments.

I know some people who visit the courthouse when they have questions about a septic field, bad check or a real estate tax. There are people who wander in hoping to get answers to their legal questions.

Next time you are in the downtown of a county seat, take a walk through the courthouse. You can probably get an idea of its inside by looking at its outside. Is it maintained well? Does the grass need mowed? Are there any coffee shops or stores nearby? Any abandoned buildings across the street?

Can you tell through which door to enter? Are visitors free to come and go? Or does your courthouse have metal detectors and court security? Are the employees friendly? Any artwork displayed? Portraits or photographs? Do the attorneys seem to get along with each other? Are there signs telling you where to find the different departments and courts? Does anyone offer to help when you get lost? If the courthouse were a store, would you ever shop there again?

Courthouses are an insightful microcosm. The building and its people inside are often a reflection of the greater community. Check it out next time you are downtown and see what you think.

Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you

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©2018 Fort Wayne Reader. All rights Reserved.