The rented space has a courtroom but no permanently assigned judge, and it also has a bankruptcy court clerk’s office. The operations currently housed in the building will move to the J. Marvin Jones Federal Building and Courthouse in Amarillo, says U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater of Dallas, chief judge for the Northern District of Texas.
On Sept. 11, the Judicial Conference of the United States agreed to close the six court facilities in six states to save about $1 million a year in rent costs. The other buildings are in Wilkesboro, N.C.; Beaufort, S.C.; Meridian, Miss.; Pikeville, Ky., and Gadsden, Ala., the conference announced.
Fitzwater says the Northern District did not oppose the consolidation in Amarillo. “We are going to be good stewards” of federal money, he says.
Fitzwater says there’s room in the federal courthouse in Amarillo to accommodate the operations currently in the leased building. The federal courthouse has three courtrooms, so U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Jones, who has chambers in Lubbock, will continue to hear cases in Amarillo.
“It’s part of the whole program of cost containment, which has been going on for a while in the judiciary,” says Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington, D.C.
The move in Amarillo will occur once the lease for the rented space is canceled.
— Brenda Sapino Jeffreys