To the citizens of Clinton County:
In the very first year of my very first term as your Judge for the General Division of the Clinton County Common Pleas Court, I issued an emergency order closing the court and continuing all hearings due to the September 11, 2001 attack upon our country. We now face another time of emergency.
On March 9, 2020 Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued Executive Order 2020-01D “Declaring a State of Emergency” in response to the growing COVID-19 public health crisis.
On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 to be a global “pandemic” requiring “urgent and aggressive action” to control the spread of the virus.
On March 16, 2020, the Clinton County Commissioners issued a resolution declaring a state of emergency in Clinton County.
While the threat presented by the COVID-19 public health crisis is alarming, we have no plans to close the court at this time. In close consultation with Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor of the Ohio Supreme Court and our local Clinton County Commissioners, we have implemented contingency plans to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus.
The court is using video conferencing for individuals housed in the Clinton County jail as much as possible. We have reconfigured the courtroom to provide the suggested spacing between attorneys and their clients. We have continued jury trials to avoid the inevitable close proximity jurors would have with other jurors.
We will continue to be vigilant and adjust to the ever-changing circumstances presented in a manner that will not put the public in danger as we try to administer justice consistent with the constitutions of both our state and country.
Until this emergency is behind us, unless your attendance is necessary at a court hearing, we urge you not to expose yourself and others to the virus by entering our historic courthouse.
Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck is Judge of the Clinton County Court of Common Pleas.