Thursday, June 21, 2012

Forfeiture funds to pay for security already there

Courts in a war of nerves over screening guards

Waco – McLennan County Sheriff Larry Lynch is sweating the people the Texas Constitution charges him to protect – Judges and jurors involved in criminal and civil litigation.

Documents obtained from McLennan County Commissioners Court and the County Auditor show that the money to pay for jury security screening is there, and was approved on May 8 when the Court approved transferring $50,000 in forfeiture funds.
Click image for an enlarged view
In fact, the expenditure of $2,107 in forfeiture funds set the precedent that the Sheriff was willing to pay a shortfall for part time officers from other departments to man the security station at the Visiting Judges' Courtroom at the Courthouse Annex building.
Click image for an enlarged view

The result is that starting last Monday, the jurors summoned for duty must wait in line for security screening at the east door of the Courthouse, pass through metal detection equipment, then wait in the rotunda.

From there, employees of the District Clerk's office are required to escort them up to the third floor in the elevator, across the alley to the entrance to the Visiting Judges' Courtroom, which doubles as a jury assembly room until veniremen are dispatched to the specific courtroom where they will eventually serve. 

The confusion has judges and District Clerk Karen Matkin befuddled, since more than $1 million was spent to fix the problem by remodeling the Annex with a place for jurors to assemble and come and go by a reserved entrance.(click here to read an earlier report)

The reason: Sheriff Larry Lynch claims there are no funds to pay part time guards from such agencies as the Hewitt Police Department or from the ranks of his own department, persons who work in the jail or elsewhere in the organization, such as D.A.R.E. Officers.



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  2. So was there any change today on Courthouse Security or is Judge Lewis still sticking to his guns and refusing to be bullied by Larry Lynch as he should?

  3. The Court shuffled some salaries in the Jail Medical Department to pay for the Sheriff's Officers to man the Courthouse security stations for the rest of the fiscal year. The Sheriff is budgeting $75,000 for part time held for next year, but Commissioner Perry and Judge Lewis said that the Sheriff has no plans to use outside officers as part time help in the future. The Sheriff's officers have been handling the task since 6/15. - The Legendary

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