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Trumbull officials weigh benefits of environmental court



Published: Wed, July 16, 2014 @ 9:55 p.m.

WARREN

Officials with Trumbull County’s four health departments and others presented their vision Wednesday for a future where environmental dangers such as open dumping are prosecuted and resolved efficiently.

It is a future where a specialized “environmental court” like one in Franklin County would be created to consistently resolve the hundreds of environmental complaints they investigate each year.

These are now handled by municipal courts in Warren, Niles, Girard, Cortland and Brookfield, but health officials say environmental cases are frequently considered a low priority.

Warren Law Director Greg Hicks spoke favorably to the idea, saying the appointment of an attorney to prosecute environmental cases might not be much different than the way Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins now assigns an attorney to prosecute misdemeanor cases through county courts in Brookfield and Cortland.

“It’s not unprecedented,” Hicks said of countywide courts handling misdemeanor offenses that cross municipal boundaries. Portage County’s municipal courts are set up that way, he noted.

There could be zoning rules that differ from one part of the court’s jurisdiction to another, but that could be overcome, he said.

Read more about the plan in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.


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