Delaware looks at centralized arraignment
Mar. 6—The Delaware County Public Safety Committee met Monday, March 6, and discussed a proposal to have a centralized arraignment.
Board Chair and Bovina town Supervisor Tina Molé said she received a letter from state centralized court system, inviting her to attend a conference on April 21. She said the letter included a plan for centralized arraignment and a resolution of support that was marked "exhibit B."
Molé said the "exhibit B" looked like a resolution passed by the Board of Supervisors, but she said she never remembered the board passing the resolution, nor could former Clerk of the Board Christa Schafer or current Clerk of the Board Penny Bishop. She said she emailed the Sixth Judicial District for clarification, and after some back and forth, it was found the resolution was a sample resolution the county could approve.
"My question is, what is the purpose of this?" she said.
Delaware County Sheriff Craig DuMond said the resolution would create a centralized arraignment office at the public safety building and town justices would be put on a rotating on-call sheet to report to the office to perform arraignments at a certain time. Defense attorneys are also available for defendants, he said.
DuMond said local attorneys and judges are not in favor of the proposal because they don't want to be on call certain days. He said some town justices don't pick up their phones late at night and his officers have to call town justices in neighboring towns until someone takes their call to conduct an arraignment. DuMond said having a centralized arraignment would be beneficial.
Probation Director Scott Glueckert also was in favor of a centralized arraignment as it would help his department, too.
However, Molé said judges have told her they are not in favor of the idea. "My judge works a full-time day job," she said. "He already told me he's going to resign if we do this."
She said the Andes judge also said he would resign if centralized arraignments were implemented in the county. She said she didn't know what the meeting on April 21, would entail, but wanted to get the committee's input.
Also during the meeting, Glueckert announced the county received a $17,500 grant from the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee. He said $10,000 will be used to enforce driving while intoxicated laws on specific dates, such as St. Patrick's Day, July 4 and Labor Day. He said the money will allow the sheriff's department to work with local police departments around the county to conduct DWI checks. The other $7,500 will be used for promotion activities, including promoting the Innovative Readiness Training mission in July, he said.
Glueckert announced during the meeting, 25 people have been arrested for DWI so far in 2023, and there has been an uptick in cases where people refuse to take a breathalyzer test.
Molé asked what happens in that case. DuMond answered the officers get a court order to get a blood test. Molé asked if people refuse because it buys them time to have a less blood alcohol level. DuMond and Glueckert said it ends up worse for the person arrested because, if they refuse a breathalyzer test and are found guilty, their license is revoked for a year instead of six months.
Emergency Services Director Stephen Hood said the drone committee met a few weeks ago to discuss training personnel on flying, maintaining and repairing the county's drones. He said it would cost about $15,000 to train all of the county's drone pilots.
Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at email@example.com or 607-441-7221.