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5 court divisions for crime in Mesa appear on way out (to downtown Phoenix)

[Source: Jim Walsh, Arizona Republic] — Efforts to fight the move of Maricopa County Superior Court’s criminal divisions from Mesa to [downtown] Phoenix appear to have hit a brick wall.  Presiding Judge Barbara Rodriguez Mundell rejected Mesa Mayor Scott Smith’s idea of leaving one criminal division in Mesa or to delay her expedited consolidation plan for six months.  “It seems like they have made their decision,” Smith said.  “They’ll do what they do.”

Smith, longtime Mesa activist Milt Lee, and former County Supervisor Tom Freestone also worry that moving the five criminal divisions to Phoenix might be the first step toward the loss of additional county services in the southeast Valley.  When the Southeast Regional Facility was approved by voters in 1986 and opened in 1991, the idea was to create a one-stop shop that would bring county services closer to southeast Valley residents.  “I think they have a lot of people watching them to make sure they keep their commitment,” Smith said.

A key setback in efforts to block the move was that voters authorized the criminal-court consolidation in 2002 when they approved the extension of a jail tax that built the Fourth Avenue Jail and other facilities.  [Note: Read the full article at 5 court divisions for crime in Mesa appear on way out (to downtown Phoenix)]