Report: Small Towns Doing Without Courthouse

A story from National Public Radio today highlights the challenges small towns face as courthouses close due to shrinking budgets. In the town of Coalinga, Calif., for example, traffic court is conducted by video streaming but for small claims cases and criminal arraignments, everyone — including police officers — has to travel more than an hour to Fresno. Last year, travel expenses cost the police department about $25,000. Even residents without business before the court bemoan its closure. As one mother reflected on the fact that her sons would not be able to observe court in action, she said “It's like they are missing out on an American experience because trial by jury, that's what we're all about.”