New traffic court in St. Charles just the ticket, Kane officials say
Nobody wants to wait outside for anything on a frigid winter morning. That sentiment is doubly true when the wait is for the Kane County Judicial Center doors to open, to attend traffic court.
The county’s consistently largest court call stressed the system, and its new branch court location alleviates that stress, court administrator Doug Naughton told the County Board Judicial and Public Safety Committee recently.
The new branch court, next to the Circuit Clerk’s office on Randall Road in St. Charles, has been open since May 2011. It has a maximum capacity of 208 people, which is considerably larger than Room 201 in the judicial center on Route 38 west of Geneva, the old traffic court location.
“For the choices we had to make, this was clearly the best choice,” Naughton said.
That choice has not been without a little bit of sacrifice. Naughton noted that it has been difficult to split up the court interpreter staff. In the judicial center, interpreters could float from room to room. But at the new traffic court, there is one staff assigned to the specific location.
This is not a new problem, however. The court system already had fixed interpreter staffs in the other branch courts in Aurora and Elgin.
“For the most part, it’s worked out very well,” Naughton said. “We just have a few cost issues.”
State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said the same thing in regard to his attorneys. If they were short in a specific room at the judicial center, he could ask other attorneys to go fill in. With the new location, the attorneys cannot leave the building and drive to another court.
There are perks to the congestion relief at the judicial center. The campus is no longer so crowded that those going to their court cases have to park along the outer perimeters of the parking lot, making it difficult for large vehicles to get around.
The larger courtroom on Randall Road also can make a difference for the comfort level of the defendants, McMahon said. There are no longer congested lines going all the way down the hallway, and more accommodations are made inside the rooms as well.
“Because of the limited space, parents were not allowed to sit in the courtroom with their children” at the judicial center, he said. “I think the new branch court has relieved that.”
McMahon has worked for Kane County more than 20 years, and witnessed the progression of the traffic court from the old courthouse on Third Street in Geneva to the judicial center on Route 38, then to the new courtroom on Randall Road. This is the best courtroom he has worked in for handling the size of the large traffic calls, he said.
“It’s nice to have a high-volume courtroom that can get people in and out,” he said.
Naughton said that the room was constructed to be able to handle traffic court calls that could see as many as 1,000 people pass through in one day.