Update: Finally found this, buried down in the judicial budget....
Closing the Meriden and Bristol courthouses will save $2.1 million by eliminating funding for 29 positions and associated costs, according to Rell's budget.
Another $438,000 would be saved by axing five public defenders who work at the two courthouses.
The state would also save some money by not having to operate the Bristol court, but I'm not sure how much. That sum is lumped in with a number of others.
I'm not sure why closing courthouses would pare attorney costs either, since the defendants they represent would not be freed. They'd just be shifted to another courtroom.
In any case, I can't find anything at all to justify the closing except for saving money. That's a necessary thing to do, of course, but there ought to be some kind of explanation for why Bristol and Meriden get the hook while other courts remain. There isn't.
A slide show about the governor's budget, prepared by her staff, says that Bristol cases would be handled in New Britain.
A long-forgotten state law requires the Bristol courthouse remain open at least 40 weeks a year, a measure written into the statute book more than 15 years ago when former House Minority Leader Edward Krawiecki, Jr took the initiative to block earlier talk of shutting the Bristol institution.
However, the law doesn’t specifically require a superior court locally so it’s always possible the state could stick a traffic or small claims court in the space and comply with the law's wordig without leaving much of a judicial footprint in town.
The state tried most recently in 2001 to close the courthouse. The effort was beaten back by the city's legislators and former Mayor Frank Nicastro's administration.*******
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