Newton Falls judge halts jail hearings

NEWTON FALLS — Municipal Judge Lawrence Turner says he is exploring alternatives to holding hearings in the Trumbull County Jail.

The judge said today he has temporarily stopped conducting arraignments and probation and preliminary hearings at the jail.

Judge Turner and Sheriff Thomas Altiere had announced Jan. 17 the judge would conduct hearings in the jail to eliminate the cost and danger involved in transporting prisoners from the jail to the court for hearings.

It also would have freed up deputies from transport duty so they could be put on patrol.

The judge wrote in a journal entry that the arraignments at the jail have caused concern about the lockup’s security because the arraignments must be open to the public.

The hearings were being held in a judicial suite in the cell area.

Judge Turner said he is now looking at two alternatives.

One is to conduct video arraignments from the jail lobby so the proceedings would be open to the public. Defendants are entitled to hearings in open court.

By using the lobby, he explained, the public could attend and defendants remain in the actual cell area.

Another alternative being explored, Judge Turner said, is asking Warren Municipal Judges Thomas Gysegem and Terry Ivanchak to use one of their courtrooms for video arraignments. The Warren court conducts video arraignments with defendants in the county jail.

The county is working to install the video technology so hearings can be conducted between the Newton Falls courtroom and jail.

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