A task force in Miami-Dade county was seeking a new civil courthouse, a $360 million one at that; this decision was made on Thursday, December 3rd by way of voting. While constructing a new civil courthouse may be on the to-do list, attorney and public defender protesters also feel as though the county could use a new criminal courthouse. Protesters stood their ground near the Miami-Dade’s State Attorney’s Office as well as the Public Defender’s Office to argue their case, saying they feel isolated and a new criminal courthouse is heavily needed. These matters were discussed the following week by the County commissioners.
“We’ve been excluded from everything and the state attorney and public defender offices are the two largest parts of the justice system,” says Gary Winston, who works with the State Attorney’s Office. Arguments were discussed and it’s obvious that this is seen as a pressing issue for some. However, seven task force members voted against their new courthouse recommendation.
A minority report was made by Maria Luisa Castellanos to renovate an already existing building instead of building one from scratch. Members of the Miami-Dade task force discussed the renovation of the preexisting courthouse that has many problems to begin with, such as mold that has caused workers to be sick, the limited courtroom number, insufficient bathrooms and more.
A second task force was to inspect Castellanos minority report, and put the argument at rest. It was concluded by Jennifer Bailey, a Miami-Dade Circuit Judge that there was a fear of the civil court house taking the limelight away from the building of a criminal one. Building a new criminal courthouse would be easier, and less messy than renovating one to make way for a civil courthouse. Bailey mentioned that the preexisting courthouse was, “not optimal but it’s still functional.”
In a meeting on the courthouse matter, Castellanos continued her argument by calculating the funds, saying that it would only take $1 billion for renovation, stretched out over 30 years and in this, the recommendation for a civil court house is doable. However, her financial statement was not included in her minority report as it should have been and the argument was dismissed.

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