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Old SRPMIC Courthouse Demolished

Within just a few days the former court building was knocked down with only a gigantic hole filled with debris of where it once sat. Submitted by Thomas Wright

On January 16, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community President Delbert W. Ray Sr. and Chief Judge Ryan Andrews participated in the demolition of the old, vacant Salt River Court House. The two-story building, which opened in the summer of 1992, was replaced by the new Judicial Center, which opened in 2017.

Ray, a former SRPMIC chief judge, and Andrews took turns in an excavator, knocking holes into the south side of the building, while several staff members watched with interest. Diane Cashoya, Lynelle Trujillo, Theda Corona and Dinah Miguel all worked in the old court house building; they shared stories and memories of what it was like.

The old courthouse started off with two courtrooms, a main courtroom and a juvenile courtroom. Over time a, third courtroom was added. The building also housed the offices of the SRPMIC prosecutors, defense advocates and legal services.

Several former court staff of 1992 and present staff of the former court building take a group picture before the building was knocked down.
The group recalled having a single computer in the courthouse, which was shared by both the court administrator and secretary. A few of the clerks knew how to write court orders for civil and juvenile hearings, and a few for criminal matters. They remembered the first software system to keep track of fines, child support and restitution.

The group recalled “night court,” a brief period when the court stayed open until 9 p.m. for arraignments.

The southeast corner of the former courthouse was demolished within a few hours.
Submitted by Thomas Wright
The building was affected by flooding three times, and one flood had a severe impact on the building’s function. It caused clerks to rotate and work from the Finance Department to handle fines, restraining orders and complaints. In-custody arraignments were held at the Department of Corrections; other hearings were postponed.

They also recalled their first interns from the Arizona State University Indian Legal Program interns joining the team, who were a big help with the Domestic Violence Grant.

All those who worked in the old courthouse were acknowledged, especially as clerks or court clerks, for their time of service.

“We hope they learned or took away some type of experience and skill to effectively help them in other fields of work. We thank them for their contributions,” said Cashoya.

Former members of the court staff who are no longer living were also remembered.

The building demolition will be completed in March.

The area will be filled and leveled within two months.