Documenting the Challenges (and Documents) As Ohio Courts Respond to COVID-19

Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 541

Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, 2020

8 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2020

See all articles by Jana Hrdinova

Jana Hrdinova

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Douglas A. Berman

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Mark Pauley

Ohio State University (OSU)

Dexter Ridgway

Ohio State University (OSU)

Date Written: April 13, 2020

Abstract

As the coronavirus led to the vast majority of Americans living under stay-at-home orders, government institutions confronted a public health imperative to slow the spread of a communicable disease while still maintaining vital services for their constituents. Judicial branches of governments faced particular challenges given the traditional face-to-face and often time-sensitive nature of their work. Further, while governors can generally exercise centralized control over many parts of the executive branch of government, the judicial function in many states does not operate under a single chief administrator. Ohio represents one such non-unified court system, and this research project sought to review and summarize the formal responses of Ohio courts in the weeks during which the state began shutting down non-essential services in response to the COVID pandemic. This review reveals considerable formal action in service of minimizing physical appearances at court, but also highlights that relatively few court orders included express provisions aimed at decreasing the number of people entering prisons or authorizing proactive steps to release people from detention.

Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, judicial branch, COVID response by judiciary, emergency court orders, response to incarcerated populations during pandemic, courts changes to operations

Suggested Citation

Hrdinova, Jana and Berman, Douglas A. and Pauley, Mark and Ridgway, Dexter, Documenting the Challenges (and Documents) As Ohio Courts Respond to COVID-19 (April 13, 2020). Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 541, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3574733 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3574733

Jana Hrdinova (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Douglas A. Berman

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Street
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-688-8690 (Phone)

Mark Pauley

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

Dexter Ridgway

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

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