Court operations continue apace, despite all-consuming trial

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- While national and local media attention is trained on what's going on inside Courtroom 406 of the Duval County Courthouse, it's business as usual elsewhere around the building.

Judge James Ruth presided over a small but lively bunch of litigants in the second floor small claims court Thursday afternoon, trading jokes with two sisters he initially mistook for adversaries. Three couples applied for marriage licenses, including one presumptive groom who nervously hammered his foot against the floor as he waited. Clerk of Court Ronnie Fussell walked the halls with casual greetings for passerby. And Edith and Javon Norris celebrated with family as they tied the knot in the second floor Arbor Room.

Asked about courthouse operations, Clerk of Court Public Information Officer Charlie Broward said the impact of the Michael Dunn trail has been relatively slight. Aside from the cost of jury sequestration and the task of making sure jurors are fed, as well as a few more public records requests than usual, Broward said, "I can't say it's been a major impact for us."

Outside? That's a different story. "Inside I can't say I've seen much [difference]," he added, "but you can look over to Broad Street [home to Media City] or look out front and see and hear protesters, and tell that it may feel a little different outside."


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