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Virus limits access to city court

Order set to expire Nov. 30; pending civil cases postponed, will be reset

YOUNGSTOWN — Because at least one employee has COVID-19, and numerous others who came in contact with those with the virus are self-quarantined, Youngstown Municipal Court will be closed, with some exceptions, until at least Nov. 30.

In a journal entry, Carla Baldwin, the administrative and presiding judge, wrote the pandemic issues impacting the court have forced her to order that all cases be postponed until at least Nov. 30.

The decision was made “in the interest of public welfare and safety,” Baldwin wrote.

The order took effect Friday and expires at the end of the work day Nov. 30, but Baldwin added: “Unless otherwise ordered by this court.”

The exceptions are video arraignments, preliminary hearings and cases involving defendants who are in custody. The court will use Zoom or telephone conferences for cases that require immediate attention, Baldwin wrote.

Only parties to cases will be permitted in the court, 9 W. Front St., during this time.

Pending civil cases are postponed and will be reset to the earliest available time after the order expires Nov. 30.

Also, in-court arraignments scheduled during this time will be reset by the court’s assignment office.

City Health Commissioner Erin Bishop, whose office is located in the courthouse building, said the city has seen a large spike in COVID-19 cases recently. She urged people to wear face masks, to socially distance and to avoid crowds.

Bishop also said she was concerned about people getting together for Thanksgiving — as the virus spread at Halloween parties.

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