The newly built federal courthouse adjacent to Central Park [in Bakersfield] is almost complete and is set to open July 16, with the first cases to be heard the same day.
The building will service the courts, probation offices, U.S. Marshals and the clerk of courts, all of which will begin moving in July 9, according to the U.S. General Services Administration.
Jennifer Thurston, a U.S. District Court magistrate judge for the Eastern District of California will preside over the new courthouse. She said the courts will be used for the following federal cases:
* Petty offenses, such as having a controlled substance on an Air Force base. This would be similar to a misdemeanor in state court.
* Infractions, like damaging federal land.
* Civil trials, in cases where the subject matter applies to a federal law. An example of this would be a car accident involving a federal employee.
* Prisoner litigation, in cases where prisoners have complained their civil rights are being violated.
The courthouse will now be able to accommodate a jury, so cases that require them can happen at the new courthouse instead of being sent to Fresno. Felony trials will still have to take place in Fresno, but all litigation leading up to the trial can take place in Bakersfield.
There will also be seven holding cells, two of which are directly off the courtroom so defendants can be readily available when their cases are called.