Judges still have the option of letting jurors and lawyers smoke in their offices.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County Common Pleas Court judges have signed on to efforts to ban smoking from the county courthouse.
Judges Maureen A. Cronin, Jack Durkin, James C. Evans and Robert Lisotto signed an order Thursday adopting a no-smoking policy for all court employees.
The order applies to the judges' staffs as well as employees in the court reporters office, assignment office and jury commissioner's office, Judge Cronin said.
Each judge must make his or her own policy on whether to allow jurors or lawyers to smoke in the court offices, she said.
"We can control what our employees do, but one judge can't tell another what to do or not do in their own offices," Judge Cronin said.
Judge R. Scott Krichbaum did not sign the entry. He said it was presented and signed during a judges' meeting Monday, which he did not attend.
"I don't understand the necessity of it, to be honest," Judge Krichbaum said. He said the other judges have already said publicly that they do not allow smoking in their courts.
Prompted by story: Judge Cronin said the action was spurred by a recent Vindicator story about office holders who smoke or allow smoking in the courthouse despite two resolutions passed by county commissioners to make the building smoke-free.
Judge Krichbaum said his staff does not smoke, so they won't be affected by the order and that he no longer smokes cigars in the courthouse. He said he will continue to allow jurors to smoke in the building, though, especially during deliberations.
He has said allowing jurors to smoke is a courtesy he extends to them for giving up their time for jury service. If nonsmoking jurors are bothered by smoke, the smokers use a nearby witness room for smoking.