The crew traipsing through the nooks and crannies of the historic Dade County Courthouse Thursday comprised circuit judges, elected officials and their aides –- all of them far too nattily attired for the task at hand.
They had come from more elegant quarters -– a judge’s chambers -– but appeared out of place in the courthouse’s damp basement, stepping gingerly over water pumps and around protective plastic sheeting.
“Don’t get near the poles,” Chief Judge Bertila Soto, clad in high heels, warned, “because there’s live wires.”
(The warning sign, in case the others missed it, was a message inscribed in black marker: “Shock. Danger!”)
Commissioner Esteban “Steve” Bovo initially declined an offer to walk into the former probate court division, closed because the level of carbon dioxide in the air was too high.
“Nah, you know what? I just kind of feel like I don’t want to,” Bovo joked. He eventually went in with the others.
In a restored courtroom, Circuit Judge Jacqueline Hogan Scola interrupted an attorney in trial to add to the banter.
“This is the Starship Enterprise,” she said of the courtroom in question. “The rest [of the building] is the exploded meteorite.”
“It’s beautiful,” Judge Jennifer Bailey said of the courthouse, which was completed in 1928. “It’s state of the art -– for 1930.”