Jurors share concerns over mold at Roderick Ireland Courthouse
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - With ongoing mold concerns at the Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield, Western Mass News viewers have been reaching out to us, worried about their well-being inside the building.
We spoke with someone who is scheduled for jury duty at the courthouse Thursday. After hearing about the new test results revealing dangerous levels of mold, she is concerned about her health and safety. Can she get out of jury duty?
“I don’t feel safe,” said Linda, a prospective juror. “I have underlying conditions that could be compromised by going there.”
Linda, who requested that her last name be withheld, spoke to Western Mass News ahead of her appearance for jury duty at the Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield on Thursday. This just days after new test results revealed dangerous levels of mold in the building.
She told Western Mass News that with asthma-induced mold allergies, she has her doubts about appearing in court.
“We’re going there and we’re sitting there for eight hours a day, or if we serve on a trial, several days,” she said.
It is something Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi has been concerned about as well and why he is no longer sending inmates to the courthouse.
“I find it very hard-pressed that someone’s going to tell me that you can stay in that building next to that cancer-causing mold and you’ll be fine,” said Sheriff Cocchi. “We’ve seen differently over the course of the past many years.”
While some court employees are able to work remotely, in-person hearings and jury duty continues.
Western Mass News reached out to the state’s Office of Jury Commissioner to find out what options prospective jurors like Linda might have. They told us they have received calls about this from others in recent days.
Here is what they are telling people: you can call the state’s office at 1-800-the-jury with concerns. They added that you can postpone your service, transfer to a different courthouse, or you may be eligible for disqualification.
This was hopeful news for Linda.
“For us that have health conditions, we would like to have a voice.”
Also of note, Sheriff Cocchi told us that discussions are ongoing on the state level about whether to shut down the courthouse based on the latest test results.
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