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Salton City - Residents Fighting Court Closure


Last updated 7/21/2016 at 8:29am

A citizens group calling themselves the “North End County Task Force” is currently attempting to gather support to prevent the pending the third closure of the Brawley Courthouse.

Residents from Palo Verde, Salton City, Niland, Calipatria, North Shore, Westmorland, Bombay Beach and Brawley would be impacted from the loss of service.

“Lawyers who have business at the courthouse often stay at local hotels and spend money here” said Mercedes Wheeler, a local attorney and spearhead for the task force, told the Brawley council.

According to Supervisor Ryan Kelley, whose district encompasses much of the county that would be affected by this closure, the California Court System has said there are concerns about the security of the building which is a former Bank of America branch office, re-purposed by the state when their previous building was deemed too small for requirements.

“There are potential access issues with prisoners being escorted to their trials having access to court personnel,” explained Kelley. “[The Board of Supervisors] have sent letters saying we will work with them to address these issues.”

This is the third attempt by the state to close the Brawley courthouse despite Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, pledging his support in keeping the Brawley building open.

The new Wake Avenue facility, currently in the design phase, isn’t expected to be completed and open before January 2019.

Those interested in joining the task force are invited to call Mercedes Wheeler on (760) 344-2466.


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