Hawaii Island has a new courthouse in Kona. It’s been a long wait — and the state’s chief justice was on hand for the opening.
Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald explained why spending nearly $96 million dollars on a new courthouse was important.
"This courthouse will enable us to have a secure, safe, modern environment where we can bring justice to people. Folks come before the courts with the most profound issues in their life. It's essential we provide them with a place where they can address those issues in an environment that's comfortable, safe, and respectful of what's taking place. "
Until now, Kona court cases were heard in buildings that used to be Kona Hospital, a garden supply shop, and a title office. Security was lacking. Prisoners were next to the public, and in 2016, someone even set fire to the outside door to a judge's chambers. The new courthouse will not only be secure, it has a public law library and a self-help center with attorneys to help the public at no charge.