CONTINUING RESPONSE TO THE CORONA VIRUS CRISIS
BY Judge Cox, retired.
March 22, 2020. 5:00 PM
As all of us know the Corona Virus Crisis is forcing all of us to change our regular behaviors and implement emergency procedures to protect each other from the exposure to the rapidly spreading virus.
Today I read the Ohio Supreme Court’s advisory to all local courts and judges which encourages the use of video conferencing for hearings in the Courts to limit physical appearances by our citizens. Ohio Governor Dewine has issued a “stay at home” order similar to several other states. This orders takes effect Monday the 23 at midnight.
Today I have implemented new technological procedures to conduct final dissolution and agreed divorce hearings via video conferencing so that the parties in the case, the attorneys, and myself can safely participate in and conclude these matters from the safety of our own homes.
I am using a website called Zoom.com to organize hearings via the internet. Zoom.com will require my office to schedule hearings for specific times and will require that we email you and your client the contact number and access code to permit you and your client to access the meeting via video by phoning in from a cell phone or by using a laptop or home computer.
The hearing will be recorded just as if I were present in person and it will be stored in my computer.
Given this technology it is possible to link as many people as we need to the meeting and all will be heard and seen.
You will email me the final decrees and other final entries that need signed which I will sign at the hearing and email back to you for filing in the appropriate court.
I am encouraging ALL of us to use this technology to give all of us a measure of protection from the spread of the Virus. I think most of your clients will be pleasantly surprised and grateful that they can participate from their homes where they are either working or sheltering in place and still resolve their dissolution or agreed divorce case.
Given any new procedure even under this emergency; I realize that some of your clients may desire a face to face hearing instead of a video hearing but those hearings may have to be postponed. I will deal with those who object to a video hearing on a case by case basis and will more than likely have to move them to a different date. I think that given the threat we face a video hearing is now the new normal.
I have made this announcement several days ahead of this week’s scheduled hearings to allow You and your clients time to adjust and understand this option.
IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU CONTACT US TO CONFIRM YOUR DAY AND TIME!!
Each of you will receive an email from me containing the meeting number or website to connect and the meeting access code along with the time of your scheduled meeting. You will also receive my personal email address and instructions as to how to label your email to me so I can identity it from the 100’s of emails I receive every day.
This is a terrible crisis of yet unknown proportions. We can only make it through this period in our history if we all work together to work smarter and stay safe. It is my desire that my cases continue to be processed as quickly as is legally possible so that the parties can get on with their lives. But difficult and anxious times require innovative approaches by those of us in the legal community to help the people we serve.
Please email your questions to myself or Mary or Sharon so we can deal with your questions timely and efficiently.
I am looking forward to using this new technology and helping in the fight against the spread of the Corona Virus.
Donald Andrew Cox