Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / News / Headlines / Graham asks to keep 2 S.C. federal courthouses open

Graham asks to keep 2 S.C. federal courthouses open

ANDERSON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham is asking to keep open smaller federal courthouses in Anderson and Spartanburg as a new large federal courthouse is scheduled to open next year in Greenville.
The General Service Administration, which oversees federal buildings, said it has no knowledge of plans to close courthouses in South Carolina.
But local officials in Anderson and Spartanburg said they have heard differently and got Graham’s help.
Jails in Anderson County and Spartanburg County routinely hold federal inmates and having to take them to Greenville County would cost more money and be a security risk, Graham said in his letter obtained by The Independent Mail of Anderson.
Construction began in 2019 on the Carroll A. Campbell U.S. Courthouse in Greenville, named for the late South Carolina governor. The $105 million project will have seven courtrooms.
But in some ways, the large courtrooms at the Donald Russell Courthouse in Spartanburg and G. Ross Anderson Jr. Courthouse in Anderson may be better in light of the COVID-19 pandemic because they allow for appropriate social distancing, especially if more than one defendant is on trial, Graham said.
Closing the courthouses would also hurt the local economy, said Graham, a Republican elected to his fourth term last month.
The courthouse dominates its area of downtown Anderson and would be hard to use for any other purpose, Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts said.
“It was built for a courthouse,” Roberts said. “It’s built to hold prisoners who are awaiting trials. It’s built for witness rooms. In my opinion, it’d be hard to try to reconfigure that building.”
The city has also taken on some specific projects just to benefit the courthouse, said former Anderson Mayor Robert Shirley, who called any decision to close the building “penny-wise and pound-foolish.”
“The city of Anderson built a separate floor of its jail when it remodeled city hall to accommodate federal prisoners so they can just walk 100 yards up the street to the courtroom,” Shirley said. “We’re finishing a seven-story parking garage right in front of the courthouse for the jurors and lawyers and witnesses that need to come.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *