BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - A ceremony was held in Batesville Friday to celebrate cooperation between circuit, district, and county judges to keep federal trials happening in the area.
It's only the second agreement of its kind in the country.
There was a federal district court in Batesville for more than 100 years until the summer of 2017 when the federal judiciary let the lease for the courthouse space in Batesville end to reduce costs.
That would have meant people in Cleburne, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Sharp, and Stone counties would have had to travel for federal trials.
"That was one of the things we were concerned with, our people having to go so far away. Paying attorneys, paying for witnesses, paying for different things," Independence County Judge Robert Griffin said. "Also jurors that would have to go all the way to Little Rock and spend the night. It decreases the cost to everybody and makes everything much more convenient."
The Circuit Court for the 16th Judicial District of Arkansas has agreed to give up courthouse space for six weeks this year for the federal trials.
"It requires the cooperation of not just the federal judiciary but also circuit judges because these are their courtrooms to use," Griffin said. "It requires the cooperation of the county judges because we are over the facilities."
Those district trials will take place in both Batesville and Heber Springs.