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Power outage closes part of Baltimore City Circuit Court

The top four floors of the six-story Courthouse East in Baltimore are closed due to electrical problems, grinding to a halt most legal proceedings in one of the two Baltimore City Circuit Court buildings.

Judge W. Michel Pierson said elevators are out of service throughout the Baltimore City Circuit Court building and everything above the second floor has only limited lighting. He said the courthouse is still carrying on criminal docket calls, but a decision was made at 10 a.m. to postpone all trials in the building and send home staff members who work above the second floor.

“Hopefully we’ll be back up tomorrow, but obviously we’re dependent upon BGE to determine whether that’s going to happen or not,” Pierson said.

The Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse has been unaffected by the power outage.

Pierson said he didn’t know if the electrical shortage was related to Hurricane Irene, which caused power outages for tens of thousands of Baltimore residents over the weekend.

Judge James F. Schneider, historian and archivist of the city’s circuit court, said Courthouse East (which formerly housed a U.S. Post Office as well) was completed in 1932. Its last major renovation was finished in 1990, and Schneider said there was also an extensive renovation in the 1950s that may have included electrical work.