Relationships. Commitment. Results.

icon Careers

COVID-19: Status of Court Operations

March 16, 2020

Updated: May 27, 2020

Cuyahoga County:

Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas

  • The court will still not hold any jury trials until at least Aug. 1, and judges will not be able to call bench trials, where a judge instead of a jury renders a verdict, until at least July 1
  • All pretrial hearings will be done by telephone or videoconferencing
  • Beginning June 1, there will be eight judges — one on each of the Justice Center floors that house Common Pleas courtrooms — holding court hearings each day
  • Anyone entering the courthouse must wear a mask or face covering that covers the nose and mouth and pass a COVID-19 screening that includes a temperature check
  • Everyone in the courthouse must practice social distancing and stay six feet apart
  • No more than two people can ride in an elevator at once
  • Only 15 people, not including courthouse or county staff, will be allowed to enter a courtroom at any one time
  • Courthouse staff will be set up in the first-floor atrium to check people in for court hearings and tell them when they can go to the courtrooms
  • Restroom use will be limited to one person at a time
  • Children will not be allowed on the courtroom floors
  • The building will be routinely sanitized multiple times a day

Cuyahoga County Probate Court

  • The Court shall attempt to minimize the social interaction of litigants, attorneys, witnesses, jurors, law enforcement personnel, and judicial personnel by continuing to conduct proceedings, to the extent practicable, by remote video, telephonic or other available technological means
  • The Court will continue to operate remotely as much as possible and will remain available by telephone for any public inquiries
  • All mediations will be held by remote technology or telephone conference unless otherwise approved by the Court
  • The Probate Clerk’s Office shall conduct business in their office with personnel as determined by the Presiding Judge as Ex-Officio Clerk, and shall continue to conduct the receipt of filings or other transactions only by U.S. mail, electronic filing or other designated methods determined by the Presiding Judge
  • The Probate Court is open only to individuals who are parties or who have received a hearing notice and their attorneys (who have notified the Court of their representation) on a case set for hearing at a specific date and time, which is not scheduled to be conducted remotely
  • All individuals, including Court judicial officers and personnel, desiring to enter the courthouse will be subject to available health screening or testing and may be excluded from admission based upon the results of such screening or testing
  • Employees of the court not on duty in the courthouse shall work, to the extent possible, remotely, and in accordance with the directives of their supervisor or the Administrative Judge and in compliance with the safety directive of the Ohio Department of Health
  • Based upon recommendations from Responsible RestartOhio, all individuals entering the courthouse must: wear a face covering while they are in the courthouse; observe social distancing requirements (no less than 6 feet away from any other individual); and maintain good hygiene including hand washing and sanitizing
  • Any Court employee who exhibits signs of illness must notify Court Administration by telephonic or electronic mail and shall not come into the courthouse or report for duty
  • Any individual in the courthouse who exhibits signs of illness shall be directed to leave the building immediately and seek medical advice before being permitted to re-enter the building at a later date
  • This Order supersedes and amends any conflicting provisions of the March 16, 2020 orders. All non-conflicting provisions of those Orders remain in effect
  • Check the Court’s E-File pages for updates and additional available filings
  • This Order is effective on May 25, 2020, will be reviewed on a weekly basis and will remain in effect until the expiration of the Executive Order 2020-0lD “Declaring a State of Emergency” or June 30, 2020, whichever is later, or as otherwise modified by order of this Court

United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio

  • All courthouses of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio shall be closed to the public through July 31, 2020. Only persons having official business authorized by this General Order or by the Chief Judge or a Presiding Judge, including credentialed media, may enter courthouse property.  This applies to all divisional locations
  • All mass public gatherings are suspended, including, but not limited to, group tours and visits, moot courts and mock trials, bar group meetings, seminars, and naturalization ceremonies
  • The use of face masks or cloth face coverings is required for all individuals in a courthouse, unless otherwise directed by the Court or a courthouse official. The face covering must completely conceal the wearer’s nose and mouth at all times. Visitors seeking entrance to a courthouse without a face covering will be asked to contact by telephone the office to be visited to explore alternatives to entering the courthouse
  • Common areas where employees or the public congregate to interact (e.g., cafeterias, break rooms) will be closed. Physical distancing will be enforced in other public or common areas such as jury assembly, court entrances, intake, lobbies, and reception areas by visible means to demark six-foot distances where practical
  • Electronic filings may still be made through the CM/ECF system. For those without access to CM/ECF, documents may be submitted by email to:
  • Civil:
    • Jury trials will commence on a date to be announced, but no earlier than the month of August
    • The use of videoconference and teleconference in civil proceedings will continue. If necessary, in-person court proceedings will be limited to 10 people and in-person chambers proceedings will be limited to the number of people which permits the observance of the physical distancing requirement of six feet in all instances
  • Criminal:
    • Jury trials will commence on a date to be announced, but no earlier than the month of August
    • The use of video conference and teleconference as permitted by law for criminal proceedings will continue. If necessary, in-person court proceedings will be limited to 10 people
    • The use of videoconference and teleconference for change of plea hearings will proceed as permitted by law. Otherwise, to the extent possible and with the agreement of the defendant, after filing a notice to enter an open guilty plea or plea agreement signed by the defendant and/or defense counsel, the taking of the plea of guilty and the sentencing shall be consolidated for a date after the presentence report has been prepared
    • Grand jury proceedings will proceed if absolutely necessary and with the approval of the Chief Judge
    • All in-person reentry court sessions will be conducted via videoconference or teleconference
    • All petty offense (CVB) proceedings are suspended through July 31, 2020
    • All detainees, upon arrival at a courthouse and before appearance in court, will undergo screening for fever and other symptoms of COVID-19 contamination. Such screening will be administered by and/or at the direction of the United States Marshals Service (USMS) or its agencies or designees. The presiding judge must be notified if the detainee exhibits risk factors and will have the discretion to order the detainee returned to the facility from which they came

Lorain County:

Lorain County Court of Common Pleas

  • Judge Cook’s court is open but with reduced hours and reduced staff
  • Beginning Monday, March 23 -27, 2020, Judge Cook & Magistrate Pena will be on duty. The official court reporter will be on duty on Fridays
  • Hours of operation are 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., except for Fridays, which will be 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • All “in person” civil cases, except CSPO hearings, and all criminal cases where the defendant has posted bond are being continued. We will have telephonic pre-trials, conferences, or hearings, where possible
  • All jury & bench trials are cancelled pending further order

Lorain County Probate Court

  • No persons allowed to enter the office, including attorneys
  • Automatic extension of 60 days for: filing of all Inventories, Accounts, Guardian Reports, Statements of Expert Evaluation, Annual Guardian Plans, and Compliance with Guardianship Education
  • Pre-trials and hearings will be conducted by teleconference or videoconference unless otherwise noted
  • Civil commitment cases brought under R.C. 5122.01, et seq. will be heard by the Judge or Magistrate via teleconference or videoconference

Franklin County:

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas

  • The hours of operation for the General Division will be 8:00am – 3:00pm until further order for the Court
  • Beginning June 1, 2020, all stays regarding foreclosure cases, including Sheriff’s sales, are hereby lifted and cases shall be reactivated as appropriate
  • All civil Duty Magistrate hearings will resume June 1, 2020
  • Beginning June 1, 2020, through August 28, 2020, the Court will operate utilizing a rotating docket schedule to limit the number of people entering the courthouse
  • No in-person proceedings shall be held during a non-scheduled week. Docket matters can be held via video/telephone conference
  • All garnishment proceedings will resume June 1, 2020
  • Beginning June 1, 2020, both in-custody and out-of-custody arraignments will be held at 1:00pm
  • Based upon recommendations from the Supreme Court Responsible RestartOhio, any individual entering the courthouse is required to wear a protective mask

Franklin County Probate Court

  • Remains open to public and will be providing all essential services. However, to protect public health, citizens are discouraged from visiting the Franklin County Court complex for matters that are not essential or time sensitive
  • Non-e-filing cases documents should be filed by mail or by dropping them off at the court (22nd floor lobby drop boxes). No persons are permitted on the 22nd floor without prior approval of the Court
  • Filings submitted to the court by drop box or by mail will be held for forty-eight (48) hours after receipt prior to processing and review
  • Money orders or attorney’s check for paper filed cases
  • Duty magistrate desk closed until further notice

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

  • The court will hold all oral arguments for the June 2020 court session remotely, either by video or telephone
  • There will be no arguments held in person in Cincinnati during the month of June 2020
  • The Clerk’s office will contact counsel to schedule arguments and provide details as early as possible
  • During this limited time, non-prisoner pro se litigants may e-mail documents in PDF format to: 

United States District Court – Southern District of Ohio

  • Any civil or criminal matters scheduled for trial, whether jury trial or non-jury trial, before any district or magistrate judge in the Southern District of Ohio between now and June 1, 2020, including any associated deadlines, are hereby CONTINUED for sixty (60) days, pending further Order of this Court
  • Any civil or criminal matters scheduled for trial, whether jury trial or non-jury trial, before any district or magistrate judge in the Southern District of Ohio after June 1, 2020, along with any attendant deadlines, shall not be affected by this Order
  • All in-person criminal and civil hearings, such as, for example, a hearing on a motion for summary judgment or on a motion to suppress, that are scheduled to occur between now and June 1, 2020, are hereby CONTINUED pending further order of the Court, except as set forth below. The Court may proceed with video and teleconference technology as appropriate at the discretion of individual judges. The Court recognizes that this continuance may require amendments to the scheduling orders in individual cases, which should be addressed on a case­ by-case basis
  • As set forth in General Order 20-05, and consistent with General Order 20-07, all initial appearances, detention hearings, and arraignments will be conducted via video and teleconference technology in the manner set forth in General Order 20- 05
  • All felony plea or change of plea hearings and sentencing hearings for defendants who are not in custody are hereby CONTINUED through June 1, 2020
  • The Court will continue to hold felony plea or change of plea and sentencing hearings for those defendants who are in custody between now and June 1, 2020, but only to the extent that such hearings can be conducted by video and teleconference technology. Accordingly, such hearings can occur only pursuant to the provisions set forth in General Order 20-07, which requires (a) a finding by the district judge in the case at issue that the felony plea or sentencing hearing in that case cannot be further delayed without serious harm to the interests of justice, and (b) the consent of the defendant in that matter. Absent those two conditions, felony plea, change of plea, or sentencing hearings are CONTINUED until June 1, 2020, except that a district judge retains the discretion, in a particular case, to determine that appropriate grounds exist for an in-person felony plea, change of plea, or sentencing hearing to go forward. In the event that a district judge elects to move forward in a given case in that manner, the judge will take all appropriate steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for the participants in that hearing
  • All grand jury proceedings in the District are CONTINUED through June 1, 2020, except that the current Columbus grand jury may meet as scheduled during the week of April 6, 2020, and the United States Attorney may petition the Chief Judge, under emergency circumstances, to call the existing grand jury in for deliberations
  • As to any continuance in any criminal matter resulting from the provisions of this General Order, due to the Court’s reduced ability to obtain an adequate spectrum of jurors, as well as the public health considerations arising from in-person court hearings for the parties, their counsel, and Court staff and personnel in attendance at the courthouse, the time period of such continuance shall be excluded under the Speedy Trial Act, as the Court specifically finds that the ends of justice served by ordering the continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and any defendant’s right to a speedy trial, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A)
  • The district judge or magistrate judge in a particular matter may order case-by­ case exceptions to the continuances provided herein at their discretion after consultation with counsel
  • This ORDER does not affect the Court’s consideration of civil or criminal motions that can be resolved without oral argument
  • The Joseph P. Kinneary Courthouse (Columbus), the Potter Stewart Courthouse (Cincinnati), and the Walter H. Rice Courthouse (Dayton), shall remain CLOSED to the public according to the terms and conditions set forth in General Order 20-05 through June 1, 2020. That being said, staff in the Clerk’s Office will be available by telephone, mail will be received, and new filings will be processed. While the Court’s intake window will be closed, those wishing to make in-person filings, such as pro se parties, may do so through the use of drop boxes that are positioned at or near the entrances to the aforementioned courthouses. The CM/ECF system will remain open and operational and attorneys are encouraged to file electronically through that system
  • All Probation and Pretrial offices will be closed to the public through June 1, 2020, but will continue to conduct business during that time. Drug testing will continue as directed by the Probation and Pretrial offices. A Probation or Pretrial Services Duty Officer will be available at each seat of court to answer questions telephonically
  • To the extent that a party has a scheduled appointment at the courthouse, or is otherwise required to appear, but is denied entry, that person should contact their attorney if represented by an attorney. If an attorney or pro se litigant, is scheduled to appear in court before a judge, please contact that judge’s chambers or courtroom deputy (see For all other matters or questions, please contact the Clerk’s Office at (614) 719-3000 (Columbus), (513) 564-7500 (Cincinnati), or (937) 512-1400 (Dayton)
  • Persons granted remote access to proceedings are reminded of the general prohibition against photographing, recording, and rebroadcasting of court proceedings. Violation of these prohibitions may result in sanctions, including removal of court-issued media credentials, restricted entry to future hearings, denial of entry to future hearings, or any other sanctions deemed necessary by this Court