FARMINGTON — The acting Franklin County district attorney told the County Commissioners on Tuesday that moving the DA’s office 2 miles down the road is not suitable for court access.

Commissioners are waiting for cost estimates to build an addition onto the regional communications center to house some county government offices on County Way, where the jail, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and dispatching services are located.

The intent would be to save taxpayers money. The goal is to pay for the project from federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The district attorney’s office is now located at a rented building across from the District Court building, a few houses down from the Franklin County Courthouse, which houses the Superior Court. The rent is about $2,000 a month.

The office and that of the county Emergency Management Agency, also at the courthouse, would be moved to the new location.

There is a statutory requirement that the county provide suitable office space for the DA’s office, acting District Attorney Alexandra Winter said.


State law states that county commissioners shall “provide to the district attorney serving the county office space suitable for the performance of the duties of office, including sufficient private area for research, conferences and meetings with officers, witnesses, complainants and citizens. If office space is not available on county property, the county commissioners shall provide sufficient funds to the district attorney for the rental of suitable quarters at locations convenient to courthouses within the county.”

Moving the office 2 miles down the road does not meet the requirement, Winter said, and in “unsuitable.”

“It is really crucial we have immediate access to the courthouse,” she said.

When court is in session, trial assistants and prosecutors make numerous trips across the street to the court office. They also make many trips to deliver information to the court before it goes into session. Those in custody at the jail are seen three times a week and paperwork must be filed at the court office.

Law enforcement officers also have to meet with staff members at the DA’s office to submit reports, which are then taken across the street to the court.

Assistant District Attorney James Andrew said the reports must be filed promptly.


When there is a jury trial or jury selection, it is held at the courthouse.

There is paperwork that goes back and forth, Andrews said. Staff members now walk across the street to get that information to the court, but if the office is located farther away, they would have to drive.

Andrews also said the square footage in the preliminary plan for the new building is small and does not appear to have the needed space required for the DA’s office.

There are two assistant district attorneys at the building and three trial assistants, with one also serving as office manager and victim advocate.

The Maine State Police also pay rent to have have an office at the building.

The DA’s office used to be on the ground level of the courthouse, but due to a number of issues, including air quality, it moved to its own office space.

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