Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Chief Justice Provides Guidance for Mayor’s Courts

Image of the mayor's court guide document

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor offers direction to mayor’s courts during this public health emergency.

Image of the mayor's court guide document

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor offers direction to mayor’s courts during this public health emergency.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor released today a guide to mayor’s courts on how to operate during the coronavirus public health emergency.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has created unprecedented times for the judiciary and the bar of Ohio, and these challenges also exist in mayor’s courts,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “While there is no one solution appropriate for every court, there are a number of options that may be considered under existing authority.”

Guidelines include:

  • Granting continuances for non-essential court appearances. An “essential proceeding” is defined as one in which relief is necessary to protect a person’s health, safety, or housing, or to prevent some other imminent harm. It also includes the rescheduling of non-essential court appearances such as phone or videoconferences.
  • Continuing to allow in-person filing of cases, particularly if e-filing is not available. Hearings and trials that are deemed to require an immediate need for evidence should take place using technology.  In the event there is a need for in-person appearances, all courts must comply with the directives of the state’s director of health. The temperatures of visitors must be taken, and anyone with a temperature or exhibiting signs of illness may not be allowed to come into the building. People in the building must be spaced at least six feet apart, and all participants must wear masks.   
  • Releasing incarcerated individuals who are in a high-risk category for being infected with the virus. This includes the elderly; those with asthma, cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. Release must occur unless there is clear and convincing evidence that release would present a substantial risk of harm.
  • Providing updates on access to the municipal building and case updates via the local court or city webpage, social media and other means.

Courts are advised to regularly check the Supreme Court’s coronavirus website for updated resources: sc.ohio.gov/coronavirus.