Judicial update given to Benton Supervisors

Benton County Courthouse

By Jim Magdefrau

VINTON – It was a brief meeting for the Benton County Board of Supervisors at their meeting Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the Benton County Service Center Conference Room.

Judicial update

An update was given on the Sixth Judicial District. Lars G. Anderson, chief justice for the district, joined Kellee Cortez, district court administrator, for the report. Also at the meeting was Clerk of Court Julie Hessenius.

Anderson said he has been chief judge for two years. One of the things he wanted to do with the administrator is to get out and meet with supervisors in the district. The district covers six counties. They thanked the area counties. Anderson said, “Courthouses are kind of a unique thing. They’re used by the judicial branch and owned by the county and operated by the county.” He said security is great at the courthouse. He said it is well kept, and is one of the favorites among the judges. “It is clear the people take pride in their courthouse. They take good care of it. It’s something we all notice and really appreciate the sheriff’s office and great job of security.” Outside of Linn and Johnson, it is the only courthouse with a security presence.”

The district covers Johnson, Linn, Iowa, Tama, Jones and Benton. District court is in Benton County two days a week, every Thursday and Friday. Thursdays are primarily for criminal dockets, and Fridays are for civil dockets. Juvenile court is once a week. There is associate court and two magistrates.

Anderson urged the board to reach out to the court if they have any questions.

Cortez added, “Everybody loves to come to the Benton County Courthouse.” She explained the technology installed at the courthouse. As a result of a court reporter shortage, they have a recording system. Each system is about $60,000. The court appreciates the county letting the court install these. Technology has also helped with Zoom hearings during Covid.

The court wants to maintain its positive relationship with the board.

Other business

A Class C Liquor license was approved for MidWest Sips, Hudson. They are providing liquor at Kacena Farms.

A strategy discussion was held with Kirsten Nelson, human resources. The board went into closed session pursuant to Iowa Code 21.5(1)c, on a motion by Primmer and Gary Bierschenk. Also present was Benton County Attorney David Thompson.

Supervisor Richard Primmer joined the meeting by telephone, from his residence in Fort Myers, FL.

Meeting video

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