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updated: 5/7/2014 12:15 PM

Decline in cases means McHenry branch court will close Jan. 1

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Citing a nearly 25 percent decrease in cases and expenses to upgrade security, officials in the 22nd Judicial Circuit say they will close the branch court at McHenry City Hall next year and consolidate all cases at the Judicial Center in Woodstock.

"It's something that's been discussed off and on the last three years," said Dan Wallis, McHenry County court administrator. "We've got the capacity here (at 2200 N. Seminary Ave.) to do it."

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Wallis said the county's lone branch court has operated at different sites in the city of McHenry since the 1970s.

Currently at city hall, traffic tickets and local ordinance violations are heard there.

Wallis said the number of cases has declined the past three years, from 9,491 in 2011 to 8,804 in 2012 and 7,288 in 2013.

The nearly 24 percent dip, combined with the estimated $60,000 to $80,000 to make room for and install metal detectors and other screening technology, prompted court officials to announce the closure effective Jan. 1, 2015, Wallis said.

"There aren't really any security measures other than the two security officers there," Wallis said. "To do those upgrades would be quite costly."

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