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New County Courthouse Will Transform Downtown Stockton


There will be a groundbreaking in Stockton this afternoon for a new San Joaquin County Courthouse. It's a project that's been delayed for years.

San Joaquin County's courthouse is more than 50 years old, and now a new courthouse will take its place with completion set for the fall of 2016.

Superior Court Judge Robin Appel says the courthouse was originally planned to be in use two years ago, but cutbacks in funding  pushed it back.

Appel says the $210 million project will have 30 courtrooms and be the centerpiece of downtown Stockton.

"It's going to be a 13 story building, it will be the tallest building in the county, yeah it's going to be very beautiful," says Appel.

Five years ago a judge was attacked and stabbed by a murder defendant during trial.

Appel says security has been the main failing of the old courthouse.

"When you bring an in-custody defendant into the courtroom, they have to walk through the hall with victims and jurors and witnesses and it's a very unsafe situation," she says.

Appel says the new courthouse will replace the windowless basement where prospective jurors gather.

"In the new court, the jury assembly room is going to be on the 12th floor, it will be overlooking the Delta," says Appel. "There will be a balcony, they'll have Wi-Fi. The expectations will be much more pleasant experience for the jurors overall.

The new courthouse will have separate corridors for criminal defendants.

The courthouse construction is being paid with court fees.

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