Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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October 23, 2013

Court order restricts courthouse entry to handicapped entrance

Corsicana — Visitors to the Navarro County Courthouse found security tape closing off stairways and only one functioning entrance Wednesday afternoon - the result of a court order by District Judge James Lagomarsino.

Access to the courthouse is through the basement handicapped entrance at the northwest corner of the building. The entrance is manned with sheriff's deputies and courthouse personnel, and visitors will be passing through a metal detector, said Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner.

Tanner said he was notified by the judge's office about 2 p.m. Wednesday to restrict entry to a single door for the duration of a sexual assault trial currently underway in the 13th District Courtroom.

The decision to restrict entrance to a single door came after Assistant District Attorney Andrew Wolf complained to Lagomarsino about prosecution and defense witnesses sitting in the same area outside the courtroom.

Lagomarsino issued the single-entry order as a result of that complaint for the duration of the trial. The judge declined to comment on the reason for the move because the trial was ongoing.

Tanner said sheriff's deputies assisted courthouse security personnel in closing the three upstairs and two basement entrances that were ordered closed by the court's order.

Tanner said he knew of no specific threat or reason for the lockdown of the additional entrances, but said he did not believe there was any threat to the public as a result of the order.

Early voting taking place in the courthouse basement was not affected. Elections Administrator Danda Parker said voters could still vote early by using the handicapped entrance.

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