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Chief Judge: Judges aren't supposed to be involved in politics

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Updated: 4/24/2012 11:44 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Chief Judge is taking his battle over courthouse furniture to city council.

Chief Judge Donald Moran says the fight may seem to be over new furniture for the complex, but he says it's really all about politics. Moran is frustrated and went before the city council Tuesday. "There's been a controversy and I'm here to explain it to you," said Moran.

He's watched the new courthouse being built for 12 years. It's almost ready to open. "It's totally finished," said Moran.

Except now Moran says the new mayor and his administration are playing politics. "It's a little embarrassing that I have to come and have a squabble with the administration," said Moran.

The chief judge says city leaders now don't want to pay for new furniture, in an effort to save taxpayers money. "Judges aren't supposed to be involved in politics," said Moran. "It's not political. It's been addressed. There is adequate furniture to fill up the courthouse. We have furniture. The money is available, but let's not go spend it all," said city CFO Ronnie Belton.
But Moran says the furniture they have in the courthouse is old and moldy and isn't acceptable for a new 350 million dollar new courthouse. "It's put the branch I represent in a difficult situation. I can't move if I don't have hearing rooms," said Moran.

CFO Belton admits there could be a delay in the courthouse opening next month. "There could be, but I don't think that'll occur. It'll be resolved," said Belton.

Now the big question is who has the final say about this furniture issue. For two days, Action News has asked the courthouse committee leaders, city council members and the city's CFO. No one has answered our questions.

The chief judge does have the final say on when the building opens, and people we've talked with say they think there will be a resolution in the problem.
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

tlynn - 4/25/2012 5:16 PM
0 Votes
MilitaryMan…That would be John Peyton…One of the worst ever! I'd pay to see him stand trial for this one!

1country - 4/25/2012 4:22 PM
0 Votes
sorry,that would be matt schellenberg.

1country - 4/25/2012 4:19 PM
0 Votes
we have a city councilman who owns a furniture restoration business.why doesn't he come forward ? conflict,or does he want no one to bring it up ???

RetiredJSO - 4/25/2012 9:22 AM
0 Votes
The original price for the Courthouse was 150-175 million. But the Mayor and the City Council all decided to butt in and make changes and redo the bidding process several times, thier interference at several points during the planning and construction, is what has caused the price of the project to keep going up, and they are continuing to do it to this day. Now to top that off City Council members are complaining that they are not being consulted in reference to the courthouse, makes me laugh, because since Mayor Brown has been in office all they have done is rubber stamp anything he proposes.

MilitaryMan - 4/24/2012 10:11 PM
0 Votes
I don't know how others may feel about this travesty of justice, but whoever approved and authorized the building and waste of taxpayers money in this manner for this courthouse, should be the first person tried in it. I think that an adequated courthouse for a third of the price could have been built.
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