COVID-19 Court Guidelines: Cuyahoga and Lake Counties

COVID-19 Court Guidelines: Cuyahoga and Lake Counties

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live our everyday lives, and that’s no different for how courts are operating. Due to the Governor’s current orders, courts throughout Northeast Ohio are limiting their hours, hearings, and staff in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. If you had a hearing on the docket in Cuyahoga or Lake County in the coming weeks, read on to learn how these restrictions will impact you.

Kasunic Law will remain open during this time and are accepting virtual appointments. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please click here and contact us today. 


Cuyahoga County

With the rising concerns of the COVID-19 virus, and the expert medical opinions from the Governor’s Office, the Judges of the General Division voted on March 18 to limit the number of Judges and staff in the Justice Center on a daily basis for several weeks.

Currently, the public is only able to enter the Justice Center through the Ontario Street entrance. Anyone seeking entrance into the building will be subject to a forehead temperature scan and a series of health-related questions.

The Court remains open, but the primary focus during this time will be on incarcerated individuals and all emergency matters.

Other new measures that have been put in place include:

  • Criminal arraignments may be held by video
  • Civil proceedings may be conducted via telephone at the discretion of each individual judge
  • All individuals, including Court judicial officers and personnel, desiring to enter the courthouse are subject to available health screening or testing and excluded from admission based upon the results of such screening or testing 
  • All foreclosure cases are hereby stayed for a period of sixty (60) day.

The Common Pleas Court Judges have agreed to suspend jury trials until at least May 8, 2020, unless a person’s Constitutional right to a speedy trial is at stake. This includes both criminal and civil trials.

Consistent with the Governor’s order and advice from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other public health entities, essential operations of the courts will continue with limited staff. This will reduce the number of people in the Justice Center, Juvenile Justice Center, Courthouse Square and the Old Courthouse. This also means the Court Resource Center is closed.

Lake County

The Lake County Courts of Common Pleas have declared an emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic and issued orders to ensure the continuity of court operations during this public health crisis.

Effective March 20, the Lake County Probate Court Division has decided that the Probate Courthouse will continue to operate under “Open with Restrictions, Public Access Restricted,” which means only essential judicial, court, and clerk personnel shall be on duty in the courthouse, and no other persons will be permitted entry unless prior authorization has been given by the Court.

Therefore, while the Court will remain open for business at this time, restrictions regarding public access to the courthouse have been implemented to minimize health risks to the public and to court personnel. The issuance of marriage licenses has also been suspended.

While these precautions have been challenging for everyone, things will resume as soon as it is deemed safe by the Governor of Ohio. In the meantime, keep these guidelines in mind as you navigate through your case, and remember to schedule a virtual appointment here to discuss with us.