New Madera courthouse prepares to open its doors

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- The new courthouse in Madera is getting ready to open its doors. The building is designed to improve safety and put the latest technology in the courtroom.

In the heart of Madera, there is a new building, standing four stories tall. It's a state-of-the art courthouse, built just a block away from the old one.

Judge Ernie LiCalsi said, "This is going to be much more comfortable."

Judge LiCalsi invited us in to look around. There are 10 courtrooms -- each one is equipped with cameras, projectors, touch screens and sound systems, "There's a lot of money that went into this and we wanted it to be user friendly."

The old courthouse is anything but user friendly. The building was designed for students and teachers. It was condemned and the court took it over in the 1950's.

"It was one of the worst, if not the worst, as far as security," LiCalsi added.

It still is, by state standards. Inside the building, bulletin boards are cluttered with court cases, inmates walk the same halls as judges and jurors take a break from court in lawn chairs.

LiCalsi said, "It was never designed to be a courtroom and so parts were added on to make it a courthouse."

Soon, the wait will be over, "Oh yeah, we're moving, we're moving September 4th," LiCalsi said.

In the new building, inmates will be isolated, jurors will have more space and judges will have a better view.

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