According to a recent news report, the federal government is considering closing dozens of courtrooms, many of which are located in small, rural communities, as part of an effort to cut costs. According to the report, six of the courts are located in Arkansas.
Federal Courthouses in Arkansas are found in Batesville, Helena, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Texarkana, Hot Springs, Harrison, Fort Smith, Fayetteville, and El Dorado. These Courthouses serve the surrounding areas and provide a valuable service to local Arkansas citizens. The report quoted J. Leon Holmes, the chief federal judge of the Eastern District of Arkansas, stating that:
“If the federal courts close their facilities in these places, the money will quit going from one pocket of the federal government to another pocket of the federal government, but little or no savings to the taxpayers will be seen,” Holmes wrote in a letter dated Feb. 23 and sent to local bar associations. “Instead, the taxpayers will be forced to travel longer distances to appear in court as parties, witnesses, or jurors.”
Travel through the mountains in this region of Arkansas is exclusively on two-lane highways,” he wrote. “Consequently, the actual driving time from one point to another is much greater than may appear in looking on a map or in calculating distances.”
“Many of the persons in the poorer and more remote areas of our state cannot easily travel to Little Rock to attend bankruptcy court or any other proceeding,” Holmes wrote.
The Pfeifer Law Firm serves Arkansas citizens all over the state and has clients that would be disadvantaged by closing the smaller courthouses found in Batesville and other smaller communities.