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11/25/2020 PUBLIC NOTICE
The Athens County Courthouse and Annex will be open with restrictions on public access beginning Monday, November 30, 2020 until further notice due to COVID19. The Courthouse will remain open for business including hearing emergency motions, bonds and other business. However, unless you are a party, have been subpoenaed , or have an appointment, you may not be allowed to enter. If entering the building masks are required. If you are unsure whether you should appear, please contact your attorney or the court.
 
Drop boxes will be provided as before for court business and filings.
 
Thank you.


11/17/2020 - PUBLIC NOTICE ON ATHENS COMMON PLEAS LOCAL RULES  OF COURT 

Greetings all,

As a result of input from the attorneys of the Athens County Bar Association and South Eastern Ohio Legal Services,  there have been additions/changes to the proposed amendments to the local rules of court.  Additions appear as underlined sections and strikeouts highlight deleted sections in the links below.

Additionally, the mandatory e-filing date for civil documents is now set for January 1, 2021.    After this date documents filed with the Athens County Clerk of Courts will need to be done electronically except for pro-se parties who may continue to file paper documents at the clerk's window.  Payment is due upon filing and documents whether electronically or by hand unless exempted by rule. Protection orders will continue to be processed by hand at the window.

Thank you to those taking the time to review the rules and for their input including the Athens County Bar Association, South Eastern Ohio Legal Services, Athens County Clerk of Court Candy Russell, Domestic Relations Magistrate Mendy Bradford and Juvenile Magistrate Jon Perrin and Assignment Commissioner Kathy Wickmann.   Thanks to attorneys Sierra Meek and K. Robert Toy, Prosecutor Keller Blackburn and their offices for helping us test the e-filing system. 

Thank you all for your patience as the implementation of the e-filing system as well as updating the local rules.  This has been close to a three year process starting with obtaining the grants needed to complete the upgrade as well as building the system all while keeping operations going on a day to day basis.  

These upgrades are already helping the clerks office and the court operate more efficiently than ever before.  We should be experiencing such benefits for some time to come while also cutting down on the enormous amount of paper traditionally used and handled. 
 
 
Generally, for the local rules I've combined the last 14 years of amendments into a single local rules document.  There are proposed changes to bring them current as well. 
At the end I suggest the addition of Rule 33 which adopts the clerks table of fees for any costs not specifically set forth in the local rules.   The clerk of courts has a list of costs on her website as well. 
 
The electronic filing rules are new to address the addition of e-filing which has been added to the clerk's filing system in 2019. 
 
Sincerely, 

Judge George P. McCarthy
Athens Common Pleas Court
Athens Veterans Court Presiding Judge
1 S. Court Street
Athens, OH 45701
(740)593-3591 (Telephone)
(740)594-3020 (Fax)
NOTICE - COURT HOUSE HOURS NOW 9:00 am to 4:00 pm WITH CONDITIONS

  • Beginning 5/11/20, visitors will be allowed to conduct business in the Courthouse or the Annex building between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • The hours of 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. are reserved for seniors and individuals who are at high risk for the COVID-19 virus.
  • People coming to the Athens County Annex building or the Courthouse will have to enter through the security entrance of the Courthouse. Visitors are required to wear a face covering while conducting business.
  • Visitors will be asked some screening questions before being allowed access. Visitors are encouraged to call ahead when coming to do business while the Governor’s stay at home order, which includes social distancing, is still in place.
  •  A drop box is available in the lobby area on the first floor of the Annex Building for those who do not have a face covering or not wishing to wait to be screened.
  • The County Sheriff’s office can be accessed by phone outside the office. Access is limited to one person at a time.
  • For more information, please call the Commissioner’s office at 740-592-3219.

NOTICE 

  • 4/7/20 - Starting  4/8/20 and until further notice, any visitors to the Athens County Courthouse are required to wear a mask to comply with Governor DeWine's latest order.  Thank you for your cooperation.

NOTICE - COURT CLOSED 5/25/2020 for Memorial Day 

  • Please note that the Athens County Courthouse, including the Athens Common Pleas Court, Domestic Relations Court and Athens Common Pleas Clerk's Office will be closed on May 25, 2020 for Memorial Day.  Full list of holiday closures are here. 

NOTICE - COURT REDUCED HOURS OF OPERATION EXTENDED TO 5/1/2020

  • 3/31/20 - Please note that the Athens Common Pleas Court, Athens Common Pleas Clerk's Office, Domestic Relations Court and Juvenile Court  have extended reduced  hours of operation due to the COVID-19 virus quarantine until May 1, 2020.  We will  be open from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Monday through Friday until further notice.   3/31/20 PUBLIC NOTICE HERE

NOTICE RE: COURT ORDERED DOMESTIC RELATIONS COURT - CHILD VISITATION AND QUARANTINE

3/23/20 - Regarding parenting time orders. People are calling and filing wanting to use this pandemic as a basis for denying parenting time. I would like people to be aware that, in the absence of an agreement between the parties or illness in the non-residential parent's home, it is the court's expectation that parenting time orders are honored. We understand this is a unique situation and these are trying times, but we need parties to talk and work together.

Here is a press release from the Southeastern Ohio Legal Services on the issue. 
SEOLS Press Release Re: Child Visitation

Thank you for your cooperation. 

Magistrate Melinda Bradford
 

NOTICE RE: COURT ACCESS AS OF MARCH 23, 2020 

3/19/20 - Please see the attached Public Notice concerning entry to the Athens County, Ohio Courthouse beginning Monday, March 23, 2020. Also below is a second Notice concerning those who were to report to court next week for their cases.

Thank you for your cooperation during this unusual time. Working together we will get through to the other side of this event successfully!


RE:  OHIO SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE MAUREEN O'CONNOR RECOMMENDATIONS 3/19/20

3/19/20 - Ohio Governor Mike Dewine, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Maureen O'Connor and other state officials held a press conference 3/19/20 regarding the coronavirus. I thought it warranted a brief statement here.

As far as it applies to court operations here in Athens County, Ohio you should know that many of the recommendations made by the Chief Justice O'Connor have already been implemented by the Athens Common Pleas Court and the Athens County Clerk of Courts taking into consideration the public and employees' safety balanced with the rights of individuals involved in the civil and criminal justice system.

The goal is not only to avoid people contracting the virus and becoming sick, but also limiting contact so that people do not inadvertently pass the virus onto a loved one or someone else who is at higher risk of becoming seriously ill due to age, preexisting conditions or other factors.

First, we remain and plan on remaining open unless we get a directive to close. We are operating with essential personnel only but remain accessible for filing of emergency orders as may be necessary as well as bond hearings. It is important for courts in general to remain accessible to the public for a variety of reasons. Among the most important include that a person can have access the courts to protect and assert their rights and address grievances, especially in times of potential crisis.

Among the measures taken and with the cooperation of the Athens County Prosecutor's Office and Athens Branch of the Public Defender's Office we have continued many cases to avoid having people come into court which limits the need for person-to-person contact they may have and avoiding possible transmission of any viruses.

Online filing of legal documents has recently become available and we encourage attorneys to take advantage of that which helps limit contact and possible transmission of any illness.

The public and attorneys can now make payments on cases online which helps limit contact.
Additionally, you can view cases online now from your home or office which helps limit contact.

Jury trials have been continued for the time being which will avoid having to bring in large groups of people which will reduce the possibility of coronavirus transmission.

Judge Lang, Judge Stewart and I continue to monitor events and are in communication with state and local resources.  we are  constantly evaluating the situation in order to make informed decisions on how to best proceed as we move forward.

I must say when I have been out and about I've been glad to see that everyone has been very civil and courteous to one another and even seem to go out of their way a bit to be accommodating for others. It is nice to see that under these stressful circumstances that people are being so nice to one another. Just another reflection on why it's such a nice area to live!

For the time being, we ask for your help in limiting contact and possible transmission of the virus by not coming to the Athens County Court House unless you have a hearing or other specific reason to be there.
Your cooperation will help everyone here in Athens County!

Stay healthy all!

- Judge George McCarthy


COURT NOTICE REGARDING CORONAVIRUS VIRUS AND COURT OPERATIONS 3/12/20

3/12/20 - This notice is being issued to address operations of the Athens County Common Pleas Court in light of the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, as declared by Gov. DeWine.
“The Court will remain in operation during normal business hours throughout the duration of the emergency, as will the Clerk of Court’s Office… However, efforts are being taken to minimize the necessity of persons to visit the courthouse during this emergency. Effective immediately, the following Temporary Orders will remain in effect until at least April 1, 2020:

1) The Athens County Grand Jury is suspended until further Order of the Court. Grand jurors are not to report for the previously scheduled session on March 23. Grand jurors will be contacted directly by the Court in the event that they need to appear at a later date.

2) No jurors will be summoned to Court, nor will any jury trials be held.

3) All scheduled in-person hearings in the General and Domestic Relations Divisions will be CONTINUED. Persons with court dates prior to April 1 should not report to Court. Hearings will be rescheduled. Some hearings may be held telephonically, to be arranged on a case-by-case basis. Those persons represented by counsel should call their attorneys.

4) Persons summoned to appear for Arraignments on Wednesday, March 25, should not report to Court. Instead, plan to appear on Wednesday, April 1, unless otherwise advised by the Court or counsel. In addition, any persons with business before the Court who are represented by counsel should contact their attorneys for further guidance regarding scheduling. Prior to April 1, 2020, the Court will issue further guidance regarding whether these Temporary Orders will be extended, modified or allowed to expire."