Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Storm Prompts Change of Venue as Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments in Logan County April 24

Image of a county map of Ohio with Logan County colored red

Because of storm damage to the county courthouse, the Ohio Supreme Court will bypass the traditional setting for off-site court in Logan County on April 24 and hear oral arguments at Bellefontaine High School.

The Ohio Supreme Court will convene in official session in Logan County on Wednesday, April 24 as part of its Off-Site Court Program. And, for only the second time in the program’s 26 years, oral arguments will be held at a high school.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Paul E. Pfeifer, Terrence O’Donnell, Judith Ann Lanzinger, Sharon L. Kennedy, Judith L. French, and William M. O’Neill will hear oral arguments in four cases beginning at 9 a.m. that day in the Distance Learning Center at Bellefontaine High School.

Logan County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark S. O’Connor extended a formal invitation to the Supreme Court in March last year. That invitation occurred before a June 29 wind storm damaged the county courthouse, which is typically the off-site court setting.

“If the goal of the program is to teach students a little more about the judicial system, than holding court at a high school makes too much sense not to try it again,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “It’s unfortunate that the storm closed the courthouse, but we have been considering ways to reach more students and make observing oral arguments as convenient as possible. The situation in Logan County provides the perfect opportunity to use a high school campus again.”

Initiated in 1987, the Off-Site Court Program has gained national recognition as a model program for education about the judiciary. The program enhances students’ understanding of the legal system by providing an opportunity for students to attend and observe the proceedings of the Supreme Court in person and to interact with justices, attorneys and court staff.

Students and their teachers will receive curriculum material to study before the session, including summaries of the specific cases to be argued. Local attorneys will team with educators at each participating school to explain Ohio’s judicial system and review case materials.

On the morning of April 24, students will attend a special briefing during which they may ask questions and interact with the justices. In addition, students from each school will be assigned to attend one of the oral arguments. After the assigned case has been argued, each group of students will meet with the case attorneys for a debriefing and discussion of the legal issues in the argument they just heard.

Chief Justice O’Connor said the Logan County session will mark the 65th time the Supreme Court has heard oral arguments outside Columbus since the inception of the program.

Click here to access background information and a video illustrating the program, including footage from past Off-Site Court sessions.