When it comes to fiscal matters, bad news tends to beget other bad news.
That seems to be the case with the Southwest Florida Circuit Court system, which has announced that effective June 1 it will suspend all misdemeanor court and probation services in Immokalee. In turn, the Collier Clerk of Courts Office says it will consider following suit and perhaps close its satellite office in that rural community east of Naples.
Clerk Dwight Brock, in a press release, adds that he welcomes public input on all this.
Here is ours:
We understand the economic situation.
At the same time, we understand the importance of the court services that have been provided in Immokalee for, according to the court system, the past 20 years.
We understand the importance of public access, and we wonder how many cases will slip through the cracks if Immokalee court clients are required to travel to East Naples for those services.
It would be of some help to explore compromise, perhaps through reliable, scheduled transportation via Collier County’s existing Collier Area Transit or relocating services to existing county facilities in North Naples.
The Immokalee plan appears to have the potential of having an impact on the Collier Countians who are least able to speak up for themselves and be heard with their questions and concerns. We need to make sure that registers, especially when it comes to services as fundamental as our legal system.