The federal courtroom in Pine Bluff is one of six that could face closure, based on a recommendation by judicial officials.

The federal courtroom in Pine Bluff is one of six that could face closure, based on a recommendation by judicial officials.

Dick Carelli, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington, D.C., said Thursday that a committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference recommended that 60 courtrooms across the nation be closed as a way to save money.

Other sites recommended for closure by the Space and Facilities Committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference were Batesville, Helena-West Helena and Jonesboro as well as Pine Bluff in the Eastern District, and Harrison and Hot Springs in the Western District of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals region.

In addition to Arkansas, the Eighth Circuit includes Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Carelli said the courtrooms selected all have one thing in common, they don’t have resident judges who use the facilities.

“One thing they’re going to look at is how often the courtroom is used and also whether the costs for litigants, defendants, etc., to travel to the next closest court site would present a burden to them,” Carelli said.

On Feb. 22, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts sent a memo to the Chief judge of each circuit nationwide listing the courtrooms that the committee had recommended for closure as a way to cut costs, and asked for recommendations from each circuit’s Judicial Council on the sites.

Those recommendations are due April 13 and will be considered first by the Space and Facilities Committee when they meet in June, then to the Judicial Conference which meets on Sept. 12.

“There will be no finality on anything until at least September,” Carelli said. “If they decide it’s not economically feasible to keep them operating, it wouldn’t affect other users of the building.”

The George Howard Federal Courtroom is located in the same building that houses the U.S. Postal Service Main Branch, as well as other federal offices including the FBI.

Federal court sites in El Dorado and Little Rock in the Eastern District and Fayetteville, Fort Smith and Texarkana in the Western District are not on the proposed closure list.