City may host change-of-venue court

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 9, 1999

Now that the city has approval for a federal courthouse downtown, Natchez Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown in developing additional plans for another court downtown.

&uot;We would use it for change of venue trials,&uot; Brown said. &uot;Anytime a judge requests a change of venue they have to go shopping for a friendly court.&uot;

Because most counties and cities don’t want to tie up their own dockets with out-of-town cases, those courts can be hard to find, Brown said.

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Last month, Congress approved legislation that enables Natchez to establish a federal court downtown. The legislation does not provide any money, but clears the way for the city and for U.S. District Judge David Bramlette to seek funds to operate the court, which the city hopes to locate in the old Memorial Hall on Pearl Street.

Approvals are still needed from the Administrative Office of Courts, Brown said.

Having a federal courthouse downtown would bring additional money to Natchez, Brown said, with lawyers and others involved in cases renting office space and hotel rooms.

With the change-of-venue court, &uot;we think we can attract as many as 30 cases a year,&uot; Brown said.

That court, which the mayor said would be the only one of its kind in the state, would also be located in Memorial Hall, which is now owned by the Historic Natchez Foundation.

The city would like to swap the old Britton & Koontz Bank building with the foundation for Memorial Hall, Brown said.

Mimi Miller, director of preservation and education for the Historic Natchez Foundation, has said she is supportive of the city’s efforts to establish a federal courthouse.