Changes suggested by the new City Judge John G. Mazurek, met with some resistance from the city council Tuesday evening at the regular City Council meeting.
Mazurek suggested that City Attorney Barbara Wright attend all first appearances and reviews.
“In my opinion it is essential for the City Attorney to be involved with first appearances and reviews,” Mazurek said in his request. “If a defendant pleads “guilty” or “no contest” to a particular charge, the Court wants the City Attorney to recommend a fine and punishment.
Since Wright works for the city by the hour the cost of her being in court would likely exceed the budget.
“If the judge orders me to be in court, I will have to go,” explained Wright to the council.
“Do we have to approve this,” asked Councilmember Dewey Smith.
“I don’t know,” answered Wright. “I know the judge sets the rules of the court.”
In the same memorandum the judge said he would like to change the court schedule.
“First appearances will take place at 8 a.m. on the first and third Fridays of the months. First appearances are currently scheduled for 4 p.m..
“All trials will take place at 9 a.m. on the third Friday of the month.
“By scheduling both first appearances and trials in the mornings I can avoid multiple trips,” said the judges memorandum.
Mazurek resides in Pittsburg.
“I believe the judge is trying to make this court operate like the court in Pittsburg,” said City Attorney Wright. “This is the system they use.”
“They are a city of 30,000 and we have 3,000 said Council member Gary Smith. “We do things a little differently.”
In a separate memorandum Judge Mazurek requested a new computer for either the courtroom or the Clerk of the Court, Terri Kershaw.
“The computer in the courtroom is an old laptop that is slow and outdated,” said the judge. “In fact last week we were not able to get the computer started.”
“A computer and printer in the courtroom would allow us to quickly prepare Journal Entries and other documents and save substantial time and duplication of effort.
“We would want this computer ‘linked’ to Terri’s (Kershaw) and the Incode system,” the judge said in his memorandum.
After several minutes of discussion the council asked the Mayor Harley McDaniel to schedule the requests in a personnel committee. The meeting was scheduled thursday 7 p.m. with the City Attorney and Judge requested to be present.