Trumbull County Courthouse Corner






Welcome to the Trumbull County Courthouse Corner – located at the intersection of High Street and Mahoning Avenue in Warren, Ohio, also known as the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas – General Division.

As author A.A. Milne wrote, “You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

We are happy to bring our corner to you – the Courthouse Corner!

 

Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Receives The Ohio Access to Justice Foundation 2022 Presidential Award

By: Magistrate Ashleigh Musick

On May 10, 2022, Honorable Andrew D. Logan was presented with The Ohio Access to Justice Foundation’s Presidential Award for Pro Bono Service during the OSBA Annual Meeting of Members at the Ohio State House. This annual award “recognizes attorneys [and judges] who have provided their expertise to serve those most in need and who have made outstanding efforts to increase access to justice in Ohio.” Judge Logan was nominated for and received this prestigious honor for his commitment to increasing access to housing and to justice in our community.

In 2008, Trumbull County experienced a sharp increase in foreclosure actions. Many people lost their homes. These homes, now owned by banks, became vacant. The former residences led to areas ripe for criminal activity and these areas of the community left unattended became were eyesores. The blight caused by the foreclosure wave resulted in individuals displaced from their homes, disgruntled community members, and decreased property values.

In 2009, the federal government introduced the Home Affordable Modification Program (“HAMP”). HAMP was a loan modification program created to assist homeowners and avoid foreclosure. Judge Logan quickly realized that many defendants in foreclosure actions were defending these actions without the assistance of legal counsel, or appearing “pro se.” Pro se litigants are often at a disadvantage in court actions, as many do not have the knowledge of the court operations, court procedures, and the current state of the law. Judge Logan with assistance of Attorney Rachel Nader, Advocacy Director for Community Legal Aid, former Magistrate Beth Ann Aurilio, and many others, created a court mediation program to allow homeowners subject to a foreclosure action to negotiate with the banks and potentially, keep their homes.

In 2019, Community Legal Aid applied for a grant to establish a pro bono clinic to increase their outreach in the community. According to Atty. Nader, Judge Logan has had a crucial and important role in the creation of that pro bono clinic, the Clarence Darrow Clinic, which covers referrals in consumer and housing matters from all courts in Trumbull County.

Community Legal Aid is now partnered with the Trumbull County Bar Association and seven local Trumbull County courts to meet the need of low-income residents facing housing and financially related legal issues.  Northeast Ohioans who are unable to afford legal counsel and who are facing housing and collection matters can consult with Clarence Darrow Clinic for pro bono legal assistance.

Judge Logan was instrumental in the creation of the Clarence Darrow Clinic, and his unwavering support of Community Legal Aid’s efforts has led to the clinic’s continued success and has kept community members in their homes. The community, including many of his esteemed judicial colleagues, joined in his nomination for this award. The recognition of Judge Logan’s efforts and commitment to increasing access to housing and to justice in his community is well-deserved.  

The Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas offers its congratulations to Judge Andrew D. Logan, the recipient of the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation’s 2022 Presidential Award, and thanks Judge Logan for his continued service in the community.

 

If you live in Trumbull County and have concerns over housing or debt related issues, or if you are facing an eviction, foreclosure, or consumer/collection lawsuit in a Trumbull County Court, you are encouraged to apply with the Clarence Darrow Clinic. Applicants do not need to have a pending legal action to qualify. For more information regarding the Clarence Darrow Clinic, visit their website at https://www.communitylegalaid.org/darrow.

 



Electronic Check in Kiosks
By: Magistrate Ashleigh Musick

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court has had to adjust and adapt its procedures to ensure and improve accessibility to the Court. With the use of technology, the Court has continued to enhance its capabilities to increase accessibility and streamline services for maximum efficiency.

The General Division is pleased to offer a new electronic service to those appearing before the Court. In August 2021, the General Division installed several electronic kiosks and television screens in the Courthouse. Attorneys, parties (including self-represented litigants), jurors, prospective jurors, and witnesses can now electronically check-in with the Court on the date of the scheduled hearing and view the daily schedule of cases.

When a person checks-in via the kiosk, the system will automatically notify the Court or Magistrate that the individual is present. This no-contact notification system streamlines cases for more efficient administration of justice while also ensuring the safety of those conducting business inside the Courthouse.

The Court has been conducting significantly less civil hearings in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of web-based conferencing platforms. However, the kiosk system has been beneficial even with less foot traffic.

Judge Logan’s Bailiff, Jodi Camuso, is enjoying the kiosks. For her, the kiosk makes the criminal case schedule run smoothly. “I can log in to see who checked in, and by knowing which defendants are available instead of looking for people, it is so convenient,” said Camuso.

These user-friendly kiosks are conveniently placed outside the doors of each of the four General Division courtrooms. The check-in process is simple.  If you are a party, attorney, or witness in a criminal or civil case, you simply select “Court Check-in” from the home screen and type in the first three letters of your last name. You can then select your name from the generated list and click the check-in button on the screen. This check-in feature is available for in-person proceedings before the Court of Common Pleas Judges and the General Division magistrates.

There is also a kiosk outside the Jury Commission for jurors to check in. According to the Jury Commission, it has simplified the Juror check-in process. The juror check-in requires a few extra steps. Once you select Juror Sign-in from the home screen, you are prompted for your name and your assigned juror number. In addition to the check-in function, the kiosk also provides the opportunity to notify the Jury Commission that you require a work excuse or an interpreter. There is also an option to inform the commission that you are requesting to be excused from service or to defer your service.

In addition to the kiosks, each Courtroom also has a television screen that displays the daily schedule. On any given day, there could be proceedings occurring in each of the four general division courtrooms in addition to the Magistrate Hearing Room. Judge Kontos’ Bailiff, Hally Abruzzi, has noticed many visitors utilizing the monitors to assist them in locating the right courtroom. 

Bailiff Camuso said “[the television screens] also limit contact between court personnel and the public or attorneys” because it has “reduced the number of people asking to see the schedule or if their case is on the schedule for that day.”

While we continue to appreciate the beauty of our historical courthouse, the electronic kiosks are another step forward in modernizing court procedures and increasing court efficiency. The General Division hopes that as the world heals from the COVID-19 pandemic and in-person proceedings increase in frequency, these technological improvements will continue to assist the respective courts in processing their caseload in a swift and efficient manner.   


By Magistrate Beth Anne Aurilio

Welcome to e-Filing in the General Division

The General Division is pleased to announce the kick-off of e-filing for the civil docket. Electronic filing, also called “e-filing,” offers attorneys and self-represented litigants the convenience of filing timely complaints and pleadings without leaving the comfort of their home, office, or home-office, as the case may be at this time.

As of September 1, 2020, all new civil complaints and any subsequent filings in pending civil cases will be accepted through the e-filing system only. “E-filing will service attorneys and the public in the most efficient way to process Court documents using modern technology. It has been a goal of the Clerk of Courts office to provide this service and allow it to be as user-friendly as possible,” says Karen Infante Allen, Trumbull County Clerk of Courts.

The e-filing journey in the General Division began more than one year ago with a pilot project for foreclosure case types only. This allowed Court and Clerk staff to familiarize themselves with the e-filing system. “Starting with the foreclosure cases allowed the Court to explore the nuances of the e-filing system without the full brunt of the entire civil caseload. This is a collaborative effort to provide efficient and modern access to the Court system for all civil parties and attorneys,” said Honorable Andrew D. Logan, Administrative Judge of the General Division.

E-filing provides convenience to attorneys filing on behalf of their clients and provides vital access to justice to self-represented litigants. Thanks to grant funding from the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Court established two scanners and computer stations dedicated solely to self-represented litigants or those who need computer access to file their pleadings.

 

The Clerk and the Court understand the shift to electronic filing will be an adjustment for some practitioners as well as self-represented parties. In August, Allen and Magistrate Beth Aurilio, in cooperation with the Trumbull County Bar Association, offered a free webinar to introduce the e-filing system to potential users. Four sessions were presented via Cisco Webex to registered participants; including judges, attorneys, paralegals and staff. Participants were able to “walk through” the e-filing system in training mode to familiarize themselves with the format. Attorneys earned one hour of continuing legal education credit for their attendance at the seminar.



Attorneys and self-represented litigants may register through the Clerk of Court by calling (330) 675-2557.