CIRCLEVILLE – To meet the challenges of the pandemic state of emergency restrictions and continue to provide for access to the courts, the Pickaway County Juvenile Court and Circleville City Schools worked together to allow the use of a large auditorium setting for a Juvenile Court contested case recently. Judge Jan Michael Long indicated that the courthouse courtroom for juvenile cases is too small to accommodate more than eight people. “When we were confronted with the necessity of having a contested custody case involving parties, counsel, witnesses and court personnel that exceeded 15, we knew that we had a
problem,” Judge Long noted. “After contacting the County Commissioners’ office, we were advised that there were no sufficient county facilities that could be provided to the court for use,” Judge Long commented. “At that time, I contacted Circleville City School Supt. Jonathon Davis to see if the school might be able to assist,” Judge Long added. Mr. Davis and the Board of Education promptly responded and provided the court with the safe distancing opportunity.
The court provided other safety and sanitary measures during the trial. Temperatures of all who entered the “courtroom” were taken each day. Everyone was provided face shields. Tables and chairs were properly distanced and parties sat safely away from counsel. Some remote testimony, including long distance expert witnesses, were efficiently handled by the school’s high technology communication system.
“We are very grateful for the offer of assistance extended by Circleville City Schools, Superintendent Davis and his entire staff,” Judge Long stated. Our community should be very proud of our school and its willingness to help other government functions when called upon.
“Pickaway Countians should be aware that we will continue to allow safe use and access to our court and that cases will not be put on indefinite holds. We will keep our courtroom sanitized, assure safe distancing for in person hearings and conduct many hearings by videoconference access when appropriate.” Judge Long concluded.