Expect fans to start lining the streets of downtown Dallas early Thursday morning for the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks' victory parade, scheduled to start at the intersection of Young and Griffin streets at 10 a.m. As a result, courthouse officials have begun to make plans in anticipation of the parade, which will result in numerous street closures. Chief U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater of the Northern District of Texas in Dallas, whose court is located in the Earle Cabell Federal Building downtown, says, “We are going to conduct operations as normally as possible. It will be up to each individual judge how to handle individual dockets but we’ve made the judges aware of the logistical issues because of the parade and we’ve requested that they consider delaying the report time for jurors to 1 p.m.” Fitzwater, who has discussed similar plans with Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Barbara J. Houser, says the federal district clerk’s office “is going to attempt to operate as normal as well.” But Fitzwater says he expects almost all court employees will be allowed “a reasonable amount of time to see the parade, adding, “they are big fans of the Mavericks, too.” Michelle Canion, the administrative assistant to district court administrator Lauri Ann Bodino, says although her boss “can’t tell judges what to do,” Bodino has asked each of the civil court judges at the George L. Allen Sr. Courts Building if they have trials starting on June 16 and to let her know if they have altered any trial schedules as a result of the parade. When the judges reply to Bodino’s inquiry (most likely this afternoon), Canion says Bodino will post on the dallascounty.org website any schedule changes. Paula Burch, the supervisor for the civil file desk at the Dallas County District Clerk’s Office in the Allen courthouse, says her operations will be open as usual on parade day from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. “We’re all going to be here. We might have clerks go out to see it [the parade] but there will be continuous coverage of our operations,” Burch says. Dana Wrisner, the criminal district court manager who oversees operations at the Frank Crowley Courthouse, which is farther from the parade route leading to Victory Park near the American Airlines Center, says operations in the criminal courthouse will not be interrupted. David McAtee, administrative partner for the Dallas office of Haynes and Boone, writes in an e-mail, "We're so proud of our neighbors, the 2011 NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks. Tomorrow, we'll be wearing our 'MavGear' to celebrate the achievement. Last week, we had a 'Beat the Heat' ice cream social, and we look forward to watching tomorrow's parade from our office in Victory Park." Judy Hale Vetkoetter, the executive director of Gardere Wynne Sewell, which has offices downtown, says there is "a huge, huge crowd of Mavericks fans" at the firm and employees who want to see the parade may use "personal time" to do so. Vetkoetter adds that in the lobby of Thanksgiving Tower, where the firm's offices are located, a statue of the late East Texas oilman and billionaire H.L. Hunt has sported a Mavericks' jersey for the past few days.
UPDATE: According to the Dallas County website, "Jury Duty for Thursday, June 16, 2011, has been cancelled at both the George Allen and Frank Crowley Courthouses. You are released from service and no further action is required. Jurors currently serving will receive instructions from the judge of that court."
-- Miriam Rozen