State Court Judge Larry Baldwin’s era without a courtroom to call his own came to an end this week, a streak lasting longer than a decade.
“Judge Baldwin has been waiting on a courtroom 10-and-a-half years … This week was his first time to have his own courtroom,” Hall County Court Administrator Reggie Forrester said.
Baldwin, who also presides over DUI Court, has shared court time with his fellow State Court judges while the county neared the end of its court shuffle.
Superior Court Judge Clint Bearden, the fifth judge appointed in December 2017, has faced a similar fate.
Bearden, who is on vacation this week, can come home to a remodeled courtroom on the main courthouse’s second floor.
“Except (for) the jury deliberation room, he’s ready to go,” said Forrester, saying there is some carpeting work still needed in that room.
The courthouse annex formerly housed county offices after the current courthouse was constructed. Both are located on Green Street just off the downtown Gainesville square.
Hall County government relocated in 2012 to the Hall County Government Center at 2875 Browns Bridge Road.
The annex now houses Juvenile and Probate courts. Probate Court staff settled in its new space in May 2018, and Juvenile Court finished the move in August.
Magistrate Court, formerly on the second floor, is up and running on the third floor of the main courthouse since last month, which cleared the space for Bearden and Baldwin.
Hall County spokeswoman Katie Crumley said the certificates of occupancy had been secured for the courtrooms and the judges’ chambers.
“Crews are now completing punch list items and should finish up with that any day now,” she said.
Crumley said the expenditures for the year to date were $512,512.50.