Fremont County waiting on SLIB decision to replace unsafe courthouse (May 20, 2013)

This spot came from reporting I did about Wyoming’s cash-strapped judicial branch. Riverton’s Circuit Court has overflowing dockets… and the building it’s in is unsafe, to boot. See it, behind the storage containers placed around it as a security measure?

Credit Rebecca Martinez / Wyoming Public Media
The Riverton Circuit Court is stationed in a small, pre-fab building with thin walls. After a bullet was shot from outside the building into the courtroom last summer, Fremont County stationed industrial shipping containers around the building to protect it. The Fremont County Board of Commissioners has requested funding from the State Loan and Investments Board to build a new circuit court facility.



The Fremont County Board of Commissioners is hoping the State Loan and Investments Board will approve its application for a $2.6 million dollar grant to build a Riverton justice center.

It would cover half the cost of a new building to house offices for the sheriff and county attorneys, as well as a circuit court.

Riverton Circuit Court Judge Wesley Roberts says the small pre-fab building they’re currently using has long been insufficient.

In recent years, County Commissioners offered upgrades like security cameras and monitors, but Roberts says they came around to his side after someone shot a bullet into the courtroom from outside the building.

“What we haven’t had is any real movement to do anything about a new building until the bullet hole appeared,” Roberts says.

“I wished it hadn’t taken that, but sometimes that’s the way we react in life, is something happens to you, and then you respond.”

Fremont County has placed industrial storage containers around the current circuit court building to increase security.

Roberts says it’s still a stressful place to work.

“It’s sort of … a dark cloud over the whole process, because you know you’re working in a vulnerable or dangerous facility, every single day.”

SLIB will decide whether to award the grant at its meeting in June.

About gumshuz

I'm a writer and journalist living in Wyoming. Audio is my passion. My reporting has aired on Naitonal Public Radio, Wyoming Public Radio, BBC/PRI, APM and WAMU. My writing has been published in The News Leader, the Daily News-Record and The Star-Ledger. I deal in Americana and the human condition.
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