COLDWATER (WTVB) - The case load in Branch County District Court is up, way up. In the words of Judge Brent Weigle, “things have exploded”. That’s what County Commissioners heard yesterday as they gave preliminary approval to Weigle’s request to hire part time help to deal with the busy docket. More cases also means more fines and costs with that funding being a plus for the county. Compared to a year ago, there’s been an increase of over $47,000 in the court’s general fund total for the months of January and February. Weigle said it’s significant because if you look back over the past two decades, every year, the slowest 3 months for the court occur in December, January, and February. The larger number of offenders moving through the court is also reflected in the crowded conditions at the Branch County Jail. Historically, at this time of the year, the average inmate count has been 116. However, in recent days, the prisoner population has been closer to 150. That number could be reduced by more than 20 as the courts are expected soon to approve sentence reductions and grant early release to inmates to address the overcrowding emergency that developed last month.
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