Court video equipment ordered

Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Shuff presides over a restitution review hearing via telephone Wednesday morning.

Another set of video equipment is to make its way to Seneca County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Steve Shuff said officials have one set for both courts and are going to get a second set.

“We need a second set,” he said.

Shuff said officials had ordered American-made equipment and should have it in two weeks.

It is to be used for video bond and arraignment hearings. It could be used for plea hearings down the road, Shuff said.

U.S. District Court’s Northern District of Ohio issued an order about the coronavirus public emergency.

The order closed all courthouses of U.S. District Court for Northern District of Ohio to the public until May 1.

No jury trials for civil and criminal cases are to be started before May 1, and all grand jury proceedings are suspended until May 1, unless necessary and approved, according to the order.

Last week, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor of the Ohio Supreme Court announced that courts must be open to address emergency and time-sensitive matters.

Total closure of courts and clerks of courts offices presents an access-to-justice issue, and courts can be closed to the public for non-essential purposes, she said during a briefing.

“Measures can be taken to ensure access to justice while safeguarding the health of employees by limiting, but not eliminating, access,” she said.

Judges Shuff and Michael Kelbley of Seneca County Common Pleas Court; Judge Jay Meyer of Seneca County Juvenile and Probate Court; and Judge Mark Repp of Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court issued an order declaring a judicial emergency and the continuity of court operations.

Seneca County Justice Center has been open with restrictions and has been operating with limited hearings.