Judges met Monday with county commissioners to discuss space constraints in the courthouse.
By DEBORA SHAULIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court will move her courtroom to the fourth floor of Mahoning County Courthouse after the 7th District Court of Appeals moves to its new building later this spring.
Judge Sweeney is the least senior of all common pleas judges, but the others elected not to move their courtrooms. Judge Beth A. Smith of Domestic Relations Court was considering moving to the Court of Appeals area but decided she wouldn't gain any space, said Judge James C. Evans, who is administrative judge of common pleas court.
It's too soon to say when Judge Sweeney will move, Judge Evans said. The appellate court plans to move at the end of May, and it could take three to four months to revamp its former space for Judge Sweeney's use, Judge Evans said.
The district appeals court serves Mahoning, Columbiana and six other Ohio counties. It will relocate to a new 13,500-square-foot building on West Federal Street between Phelps and Hazel streets.
Judge Sweeney's current courtroom, on the third floor, is the smallest in the courthouse. Judge Evans has said it may be used in the future by visiting judges or magistrates, who usually hear civil cases.
Judges wanted meeting
News of Judge Sweeney's new courtroom came out of a meeting Monday between common pleas judges and county commissioners. The judges asked for the meeting to discuss space constraints in the courthouse.
By law, the county is responsible for providing facilities and necessary space for common pleas court operations.
The focus of the meeting was on the need for more room and that "It's a courthouse for courtrooms, not for business offices," Judge Evans said. No decisions were made, and no additional meetings are scheduled at this time, he added.
Besides courtrooms, the courthouse contains the offices of Mahoning County's auditor, treasurer and recorder; a law library; a victim-witness office and grand jury room that are functions of the county prosecutor's office; and a basement-level meeting room that's used by commissioners for weekly meetings.