In a letter to Massachusetts legislators the Hampden County Clerk of Courts says it’s time for a new Hall of Justice in Springfield. She cites a long list of concerns, including a lack of space and dozens of maintenance issues.
Springfield District Court is one of the busiest in the state. Court Clerk Laura Gentile says the courthouse suffers from moldy vents, a poor heating system and not enough handicap accessiblity. She says the hall of justice, which opened in 1976, is inadequate for the number of cases it handles. She says, for example, there is no place for attorneys to speak with their clients in private. Gentile says the lack of space makes it hard to keep jurors separated from those participating in trials.
“They walk through the halls where there are witnesses and they could potentially hear things that they shouldn’t hear. They ride the same elevators as lawyers, and witnesses and families of victims and defendants.”, Gentile says.
Parking is also limited around the courthouse she says, something that could become a larger problem when construction begins on nearby Interstate 91–and also if a casino is built in downtown Springfield. Democratic state Sen. Gale Canderas, , says the building has too many problems to fix and should be replaced.