The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

March 19, 2013

Limestone court offices will be open Wednesdays until notice

By Jean Cole

ATHENS — Limestone County court offices will be open to the public tomorrow while court officials await a decision by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Last month, Moore issued an order allowing all Circuit Court clerks in the state to close their offices to the public on Wednesdays to give workers more uninterrupted time to handle the workload. Presiding Judge Jimmy Woodroof Jr. has requested an exemption from the order, which Moore agreed to consider. However, he has not yet responded.

In Limestone County, Circuit Clerk Brad Curnutt currently closes his office to the public five hours a week at lunch because he does not have enough staff to cover office duties.

However, he is hoping the chief justice will allow him to count the five hours a week he closes to the public for lunch and exempt him from closing to the public Wednesdays.

Curnutt believes closing to the public Wednesdays would be difficult for both the public and the courts.

“Judge Anderson and Judge Batts have misdemeanor dockets on Wednesdays, and most of those people will come right downstairs and pay their fines,” Curnutt said. “So, if we are closed, that will deprive them of an opportunity to pay right then and they will have to come back a different day. That could also cost us a lot of revenue.”

Curnutt said closing Wednesdays would also cut a person’s 14-day appeal window to only 13 days.