- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) - The Pine Bluff division of federal courts for the Eastern District of Arkansas is set to close in 2017.

The courts have been targeted for closure due to budget restraints. The Judicial Conference of the United States Court adopted a national reduction plan as a cost saving measure.

The Pine Bluff division’s only staff member, deputy clerk Brenda Johnson, retired Dec. 9. The Batesville location is also slated to eventually close.

U.S. District Clerk James McCormack tells The Pine Bluff Commercial (https://bit.ly/2hqRXdE ) that the division is unstaffed but will remain open until June 2017, when the lease expires. McCormack says judges travel to Pine Bluff with staff to conduct hearings and will continue to do so.

The eastern district has five offices, but will merge into three.

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Information from: Pine Bluff Commercial, https://www.pbcommercial.com

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