Important Information Regarding COVID-19

Important Information Regarding COVID-19
Current as of 3/27/2020
revised 12:45pm

As you know, Governor DeWine has declared a state of emergency in Ohio and has issued a Stay at Home Order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Governor DeWine requested that we take decisions that are not only in our own best interest but are also in the best interest of our community.

TITLE DEPARTMENT
Pursuant to the Governor’s Stay at Home Order, the Clerk of Courts title offices are both CLOSED to the general public, please check this website for any new developments and updates.  
• If you need to speak with someone about a title related issue, please call 614-835-2610 or 740-652-7540

On March 18, 2020 Governor DeWine closed several BMV locations around the state.
Of Ohio's 186 BMV locations and 57 driver exam stations, a handful will remain open to issue and renew commercial driver licenses and perform commercial knowledge exams to ensure that the transportation of necessaries necessities such as food, medical supplies, and cleaning supplies is not interrupted.
The Central Ohio locations are:
Deputy Registrar - 4503 Kenny Road, Columbus 43220
Driver Exam Station - 4738 Cemetery Road, Columbus 43026

Because of these BMV closures, Governor DeWine announced that he will work with the Ohio General Assembly to extend the expiration date of driver's licenses that are up for renewal, and also waiving required late fees and extending deadlines.
In the meantime, the Ohio State Highway Patrol will not issue tickets to drivers whose licenses expire while BMV's services are unavailable. Governor DeWine recommended that other law enforcement agencies in Ohio do the same.

Ohioans can still renew their vehicle registrations by mail or online at www.oplates.com, and BMV is currently working to provide other online service.

LEGAL DEPARTMENT
Pursuant to the Governor’s Stay at Home Order, the Hall of Justice is CLOSED to the general public, except for limited purposes, beginning March 24, 2020.  Clerk of Courts staff will be working reduced hours to handle the processing of urgent filings only.

PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS
Due to the temporary public closure of the Hall of Justice we will not be able to take in person public records requests.  To make a public records request, please call the Records Division at  740-652-7358, send an email to ClerkRecords@fairfieldcountyohio.gov or complete the online request form.
FAIRFIELD COUNTY COMMON PLEAS, GENERAL DIVISION
Pursuant to the Governor’s Stay at Home Order, the Hall of Justice is closed to the general public, except for limited purposes,
beginning March 24, 2020.

MOST criminal hearings and ALL civil hearings will be continued until after April 8, 2020. The exceptions to this rule are outlined below:

The in-person filing and hearing of Civil Protection Order and Civil Protection Order hearings will be permitted.
All CPO and CSPO hearings currently scheduled will proceed as scheduled. To file a new Civil Protection Order or Civil Stalking Protection Order hearing, you should e-mail jillian.boone@fairfieldcountyohio or call 740-652-7424. You may also report to the Hall of Justice between 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday (prior notice, to the extent possible, is strongly preferred).

Criminal pretrials will proceed as scheduled, albeit as non-oral e-mail updates with the Court.
Defense Attorneys and Prosecutors are expected to discuss each pending case and inform the Court of the status of any pretrial motions, discovery issues, plea offers, and scheduling issues by the time of the schedule pretrial.

Pleas, Sentencings, and ILC hearings with joint sentencing recommendations may proceed remotely upon request of the Defense Attorney if the Defendant is willing to waive his/her physical appearance and appear via video. To schedule a remote plea, sentencing, or disposition hearing, Defense Counsel should contact the respective Judge’s Assignment Commissioner.

The Court will still consider requests for bond modifications.
Defense Counsel should file in a formal bond motion via e-mail, fax, or mail as set forth below, which will be reviewed by the respective Judge as soon as practicable. If necessary, a phone conference or remote hearing will be scheduled to discuss the matter.

Defendants on bond and probation MUST continue to report by phone or e-mail as directed by their probation officer.

All filing of court documents is required to be done via mail, e-mail, or fax.
No in-person filing option will be available to the public through April 8, 2020.  All documents received will be deemed filed the date it is received; however, PLEASE NOTE, the Court’s docket and online images will likely experience significant delays and will not be updated during this time, as the Clerk’s Office will be operating with minimal staff.  This notwithstanding, and as stated above, any documents sent electronically or by mail WILL be deemed filed the date it was received.
Fax Filing: 740-687-0158 (General) or 740-652-7399 (Domestic Relations)
E-Mail Filing: clerkefile@fairfieldcountyohio.gov

Members of the public who are seeking to post bond for a defendant should call the Clerk’s Office before visiting in-person for further instruction.
Phone: 740-652-7360 (General)
Phone: 740-652-7357 (Domestic Relations)

Questions about specific cases or hearings should be directed to the appropriate department:

GENERAL DIVISION

Judge Berens:
Misty Conkle, Assignment Commissioner
Phone: 740-652-7431
misty.conkle@fairfieldcountyohio.gov

Judge Trimmer:
Kathy Hartman, Assignment Commissioner
Phone: 740-652-7427
kathy.hartman@fairfieldcountyohio.gov

Jill Boone, General Division
Court Administrator
Phone: 740-652-7424
jillian.boone@fairfieldcountyohio.gov

DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION

Judge Smith
Lori Lovas, Court Administrator
Phone: 740-652-7448
lori.lovas@fairfieldcountyohio.gov

CLERK OF COURTS

Phone: 
740-652-7360 (General) or 740-652-7357 (Domestic Relations)
Fax Filing:
740-687-0158 (General) or 740-652-7399 (Domestic Relations)
E-Mail Filing
clerkefile@fairfieldcountyohio.gov

**Any other questions, can be directed to the general email inbox at
ClerkofCourts@fairfieldcountyohio.gov.
FAIRFIELD COUNTY COMMON PLEAS, DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION
Pursuant to the Governor’s Stay at Home Order, the Hall of Justice is CLOSED to the general public, except for limited purposes,
beginning March 24, 2020.

Hearings Continued. 
Beginning March 24, 2020, ALL hearings will be continued until after April 10, 2020, including oral hearings, non-oral hearings and phone conferences.  The only exceptions to this rule are the filing and hearing of Civil Protection Orders and Civil Stalking Protection Orders.  All CPO and CSPO hearings currently scheduled will proceed as scheduled, unless otherwise notified.  If the full hearing on a Civil Protection Order is scheduled to begin after 11:00 a.m., the full hearing will be moved to a different date and time.  Please call 740-652-7448 if there are questions.

Civil Protection Order Hearings.
The Court will continue to receive and conduct hearings on petitions for Domestic Violence Civil Protection Orders (CPO), and will conduct essential full hearings on Civil Protection Orders.  To file for a new Civil Protection Order or Civil Stalking Protection Order hearing, you should e-mail jillian.boone@fairfieldcountyohio.com or call 740-652-7424.  You may also report to the Hall of Justice between 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Monday through Friday (prior notice, to the extent possible, is strongly preferred).

Filings with the Clerk of Court.
All filing of court documents is required to be done via mail, e-mail, or fax.  Except for new Petitions for Civil Protection Orders, no in-person filing options will be available to the public through April 8, 2020.  Payment of filing fees will still be required in order for documents to be filed.  All documents received will be deemed filed the date the filing and any necessary filing fee is received; however, PLEASE NOTE, the Courtview online docket and will likely experience significant delays and will not be updated during this time, as the Clerk’s Office will be operating with minimal staff. 

For questions, the Clerk’s office can be reached:
Phone:
740-652-7357 (Domestic Relations) and 740-652-7360 (General Division)
Fax Filing
740-652-7399 (Domestic Relations) or 740-687-0158 (General Division)
E-Mail Filing:
clerkefile@fairfieldcountyohio.gov

Guidelines for Co-parenting during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Leaders from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) have released guidelines for coparenting during the COVID-19 pandemic.  These guidelines include:  1) Be Healthy; 2) Be Mindful; 3) Be Compliant with Court Orders and Custody Agreements; 4) Be Creative; 5) Be Transparent; 6) Be Generous; and 7) Be Understanding. 
Please find the explanations for these guidelines.

Spring Break.
The expanded spring break under the Governor's order is in response to a health threat and does not expand spring break as ordered in the parenting time orders. The originally scheduled spring break for 2020 in the residential parent's school district calendar is the spring break to follow unless the parenting time order specifies another designated week for spring break.  After the originally scheduled spring break, the parties shall follow the regular parenting time schedule in the parenting time order, or risk contempt.

If you have questions, please contact the appropriate office listed below.

DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION

Judge Smith
Lori Lovas, Court Administrator
Phone: 740-652-7444

Magistrate Miller
Kaycee Ball, Assignment Commissioner
Phone: 740-652-7446

Magistrate McGill
Kendra Gundelfinger, Assignment Commissioner
Phone: 740-652-7443

Magistrate Jackson
Lori Lovas, Court Administrator
Phone: 740-652-7444

CLERK OF COURTS

Phone:
740-652-7360 (General) or 740-652-7357 (Domestic Relations)
Fax Filing:
740-687-0158 (General) or 740-652-7399 (Domestic Relations)
E-Mail Filing:
clerkefile@fairfieldcountyohio.gov

**Any other questions, can be directed to the general email inbox at ClerkofCourts@fairfieldcountyohio.gov.

COURT OF APPEALS
Court of Appeals Emergency Order

Notice Regarding Oral Arguments
The Fifth District Court of Appeals has closely monitored the guidance from national, state, and local health officials and Governor Mike DeWine regarding the Coronavirus Disease commonly known as COVID-19.  Governor DeWine and health officials have established guidelines and measures to combat the spread of the virus.  In line with the orders and guidelines, the Court will take measures necessary to protect the public, attorneys, and our staff.

In keeping with the goal of limited interactions among people, the Fifth District Court of Appeals is requesting parties waive the oral arguments for the cases currently scheduled in March and April.
For those parties who wish to proceed with oral arguments the Court will continue those cases for an oral argument at a later date. The affected parties are being individually contacted by the court.

The Fifth District Court of Appeals remains open for business.
The case schedule for May and beyond will be assessed based upon the evolving situation. The Court will continue its regular functioning while remaining focused on the health and safety of the public, attorneys, staff, and judges.

Filing of Briefs
The Court has decided not to depart from application of Local Rule 2, concerning electronic filing of briefs.   The Court will continue to follow Local Rule 2 and require all briefs to be either mailed or filed in person.  Pursuant to that Rule, briefs may not be filed by fax or email. 


**Any other questions, can be directed to the general email inbox at ClerkofCourts@fairfieldcountyohio.gov.