SALISBURY, Md.- For the past 22 years, the Wicomico County State's Attorney's Office has called the county's Circuit Court building home. But no more. The office was given notice by the judiciary that it will have to vacate its current space to make room for the court. Now, the State's Attorney's Office is looking for a new home.
And as it turns out, it is a move that will benefit multiple agencies.
Over the past two decades, the State's Attorney's Office has grown in staff and workload, but not in space.
"This is the space of our investigator," pointed out State's Attorney Matt Maciarello. "This was a closet that was being used for supplies. Those supplies were removed and now we have an employee sitting inside the supply closet."
That is why Maciarello said the court's request to relocate his office could not have come at a better time.
"It's kind of a perfect storm, actually," he explained. "The judiciary needs additional space. They're completely out of space and it's unsafe for their employees and at the same time, our office is at maximum capacity."
"We do not have any room in this office for any expansion," Maciarello added. "Not another attorney, not another employee. Yet, the demands upon the criminal justice system and our allied agencies are ever increasing."
While the move is necessary, Maciarello said leaving the current building will have it drawbacks.
"Right now, if the judiciary needs us upstairs in one of the courtrooms, we hop up right away," he noted. "We're right in the building, so there's going to be a little bit of a delay, at times, to get our prosecutors to court. Our prosecutors will have to walk to both courthouses, whereas now, they're inside the building."
However, Maciarello argues the benefits will outweigh any detriment to his office.
"We're going to have space for meeting with victims, for meeting with our employees," he said. "Right now, we have to reserve the space, we're often in competition with the judiciary for meeting space in our conference room."
Along with better serving employees, Maciarello said his office will be better able to service victims. Currently, space is extremely limited for meeting with victims of crime, and not up to the standards seen in other State's Attorney's Offices around the state of Maryland, according to Maciarello.
Wicomico County Director of Administration Wayne Strausburg said that in addition to freeing up more space, the move will also allow the Child Advocacy Center to move in with the State's Attorney's Office. The CAC has had to relocate temporarily to the Department of Social Services.
"It's appropriate that those two entities, the State's Attorney's Office and the Child Advocacy Center, are housed in the same space," Strausburg noted.
"So, not only will we be better able to serve our victims, better able to serve our law enforcement agencies but also better able to service our victims of child abuse, both physical and sexual and also neglect," added Maciarello.
The county said bids for a new location are due back on Oct. 23.
The State's Attorney's Office is looking for a long-term lease, which the county expects to come with an annual rent of $300,000 a year.
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