President Judge Michael J Koury, Jr., has ordered the establishment of a central court to conduct preliminary hearings for jailed Defendants. In an Opinion and Order issued on Friday, Judge Koury concludes these hearings will be more efficient, secure and cost-effective if held at the courthouse.
The County will save considerable sums currently being spent for constables to transport jailed Defendants to Magisterial District Judge Offices throughout the county. In addition to creating an escape opportunity, these front line offices have little or no security to protect staffers. Holding these hearings at the courthouse will be far more secure.
District Attorney Terry Houck praised Judge Koury's decision, noting this system has worked well in Lehigh and other counties. His sole concern is that police officers who testify at these hearings should be allowed to carry their weapon, as they do in other counties. He said he is currently discussing that topic with the courts.
He noted that police officers "have a target on their backs when they don't have a gun in their holster."