By Alton Mitchell
The Chambers County Grand Jury for the term of Spring 2018 has returned its report. As was the case in previous reports from previous grand jury’s the body has recommended criminal prosecution for numerous cases, but also following tours of county facilities to include the jail and courthouse some recommended repairs have also ben noted in the Grand Jury’s report.
The Grand Jury was impaneled, sworn, and instructed by the Honorable Ray Martin on January 22, 2018 and submitted its final report on February 16th. During its meeting times the Grand Jury heard cases presented by local law enforcement agencies including police departments in Lanett, LaFayette, and Valley as well as those of the Chambers County Sheriff’s Department. In the end the Grand Jury returned a total of 250 true bills for criminal charges. Those cases will be heard in the near future.
While performing their criminal related duties the Grand Jury took a tour of both the Chambers County Detention Facility and the Chambers County Courthouse. During the tours inspections were performed on the facilities. The Grand Jury first commended Sheriff Sid Lockhart and his staff on their operations of the detention facility. They noted in their report that the staff was very knowledgeable and efficient.
However, the Grand Jury did find four areas of the jail in need of repairs. The recommendations included the replacement or repair of ceiling tiles and water stains, the repainting of the cell doors, the repair of a leak in Hall 114, and the intake shower room was noted to have rusty pipes and paint coming from the wall.
The Grand Jury also took a tour and conducted a physical inspection of the Chambers County Courthouse. The members returned twelve items in need of repair in the Courthouse those included some minor and some major issues with the building. The first item outlined by the Grand Jury was an issue with comfort for members of the Grand Jury. Members noted that a more comfortable area should be provided for the Grand Jury with more comfortable chairs and tables provided.
The next recommendation for repair dealt with the old courtroom and the need to repair a hole in the floor near the left bathroom area. Plaster repair was also recommended throughout the outside walls of the courthouse. Damaged floor tiles in the upstairs older parts of the courthouse needed to be replaced.
Another cosmetic issue was noted with missing ceiling tiles in the basement. The Grand Jury recommended replacing these items. The hallway in the old part of the courthouse was also in need of a fresh coat of paint according to observations from the Grand Jury. A leak in the Sheriff’s office was noted as needing repair.
The Grand Jury also noted the need for some cleaning issues to take place in the courthouse. These needs included the need to clean the balconies of the courthouse. The new part of the courthouse had vents that needed to be cleaned and a large water stain was visible in the ne large courtroom. The Grand Jury also made mention of the need to clean the old part of the courthouse mainly the offices needed cleaning or possible replacement.
As the Grand Jury closed its report they did commend District Attorney Jeremy Duerr for the efficient manner in which his staff organized and presented the Grand Jury docket. The report of the Grand Jury was officially filed in the Circuit Clerks Office on February 16th.