BENTON — Business somehow proceeded close to usual Wednesday inside the Marshall County Judicial Center after a rather strange discovery the previous evening.
An infestation of fleas was detected by a cleaning crew Tuesday night inside the Marshall District Courtroom, which is on the first floor of the building. This, however, did allow ample time for arrangements to be made ahead of Judge Jack Telle presiding over cases that morning.
“At least we found out (Tuesday night) and not sometime (Wednesday) morning,” said Marshall Circuit Court Clerk Tiffany Griffith, who said she was the one to receive that phone call Tuesday night from the cleaning crew.
“When they called, I wasn’t sure how to act,” she said. “I think I was just in a state of total shock because nobody expects something like this.”
Telle went ahead and canceled his docket for the day.
“Do to severe health and safety concerns and in consideration of the well-being of the public and building personnel, the Marshall County District Court is CANCELLED,” Telle stated in an order he circulated early Wednesday morning.
However, that did not mean Telle was not hearing any cases. Thanks to the Marshall Circuit Courtroom being on the second floor, away from the suspected area of concern, Griffith said he was able to use that space to conduct some cases involving jail inmates.
Griffith said a couple of other things also fell into the court system’s favor Tuesday. With the infestation contained in the courtroom, her office continued to operate as normal, as did other officials not housed in that area. In addition, Marshall Family Court, which also meets on the second floor, was able to continue hearing cases as well.
Dennis Foust, who is currently the Kentucky 42nd Judicial Circuit commonwealth’s attorney, which covers Marshall and Calloway counties, was tending to business at his office inside the Marshall center Wednesday, but was not experiencing any interruptions.
Still, as a veteran of the western Kentucky legal profession, he said this is one of the more unusual situations he could remember.
“I don’t remember anything being called off due to fleas,” said Foust, who before being elected commonwealth’s attorney last year had been a judge for 25 years, 18 of which were while presiding over the 42nd Circuit. “I’ve had to cancel court a few times, but never for anything like this. This is definitely one I’ll remember.”
The Marshall center was opened in 2004.
Griffith said late in the afternoon Wednesday that the building will be closed today to allow crews to spray the entire building. She said the building is expected to reopen at 8 a.m. Friday.