Low census numbers may force county to lose judge, constable seats

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Based on state law, Adams County could lose a constable and a justice court judge with a drop in population in the 2000 census

To prevent this, the Adams County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Monday to draft a local and private bill that will allow it to maintain its three justice court judges and three constables.

&uot;It’s so important that we have an effective judicial system for Adams County,&uot; said Supervisor Darryl Grennell.

Not having three judges and three constables in places may create too much of a workload on the judges and the constable, Grennell said.

State law allows counties with populations of 35,000 or less to have only two justice court judges and equal number of constables.

Based on figures from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the Adams County population dropped from 35,356 in 1990 to 34,340 in 2000.

Grennell said the numbers caught his attention when he saw them in the newspaper.

&uot;With that it disturbed me (that) we would lose a justice court judge and we would lose a constable,&uot; Grennell said.

But Grennell said he understood that the state Legislature had passed bills for other counties allowing them to keep more judges and constables based on certain criteria.

These included whether the community has a tourism and gaming component and whether or not the county borders another state, all of which are true for Adams County

And the reasoning made sense to Grennell.

&uot;It causes an increase of flow into the county which creates that need,&uot; Grennell said.

County attorney Marion Smith drafted a bill Monday afternoon to submit to the state Legislature during its current session.

Adams County’s three justice court judges are Danny Barber, Mary Lee Toles, Charles Vess.

Its three constables are Ray Brown, Danny Rollins and Ronnie Wells.