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Below, you will find information relevant to all advocates and service providers regarding the temporary operations of Ohio courts.

Next, there are important points for advocates to consider in working with Survivors through this time.

Finally, we have provided Court-specific information for the counties served by your individual center.

Please keep in mind that circumstances are changing constantly. The information below should be used as guidance. However, advocates/survivors should contact county courts directly with specific questions. If you are in need of Technical Assistance or support please contact us at info@oaesv.org to be directed to the Legal Team.

Many Courts have issued Administrative Orders regarding the operations during the public health crisis.

These can be found online at http://www.ohiojudges.org/Resources/covid-19-emergency-planning.

Click here to read OAESV’s letter to Governor DeWine, “Reducing Incarcerated Populations Immediately Through a Trauma-Informed Approach.”

Ohio Court and Legal Updates:

General Guidance in Navigating Courts/Legal Services:

In March, the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence and the Ohio Survivors Legal Assistance Clinic provided general and region-specific guidance to navigating court systems during the public health crisis.

Updated guidance on the current practices can be found below.

Given the resurgence of infection rates and recent updates to orders related to public response to the public health emergency, many government and community services have updated and/or altered their temporary operations.

Many local courts and related services have issued updated and/or additional orders regarding court practices until safety conditions improve.

Below, you will find information relevant to all advocates and service providers regarding the temporary operations of Ohio courts. Next, there are important points for advocates to consider in working with Survivors through this time.

See the Regional Guidance for updated Court-specific and county-by-county information.

Please keep in mind that operations are continually changing. This information should be used as guidance. Advocates should contact county courts directly with specific questions.

Civil Protection Orders

All Courts continue to provide essential services. Civil Protection Orders are still to be filed in person at the local Clerk of Courts office. At the time of filing, Ex Parte hearings will be conducted in person, though safety measures and location changes may be expected. Contact the Court before taking any action!

Survivors can expect that courts will continue to hold full hearings on CPO petitions within 10 days of the ex parte hearing. Full hearings will take place in person. However, Courts will continue proceedings for Covid-related reasons. 

Should a hearing be postponed, survivors should check with the Court to make sure that any temporary ex parte orders will not expire before the next hearing date.

During hearings, survivors can expect that the Court will not hear witness testimony unless absolutely necessary to resolving the case. Only parties, counsel, and an advocate will be permitted in the courtroom. Supporters may not be permitted to observe hearings.

Domestic Relations/ Juvenile Court Proceedings

All Courts continue provide essential services. This means that Courts continue to allow parties to seek emergency and protection orders in person. The typical processes for filing and processing the case may be changed. Contact the court before taking any action!

Any other matters may be postponed or held remotely in Domestic Relations and/or Juvenile Courts. Contact the court directly for individual case status updates.

Criminal/Civil Cases

Most Courts limit the number of proceedings that will be held in person.

Most civil cases will either be postponed or held remotely, by phone or video.

Many courts will hold Criminal proceedings under limited circumstances only, such as where the defendant is incarcerated. All other criminal matters may be held remotely or postponed.

If survivors have already-scheduled matters or seek information regarding a perpetrator’s case status, they can anticipate that it may be delayed for the time being.

In most circumstances, jury trials are postponed at this time.

Probation Offices are open, though most operations are handled by phone.  Survivors can contact probation officials by phone should they need information or to report violation behavior of a perpetrator.

Eviction Support

A Federal Eviction Moratorium has been issued though 2020. The order prevents tenants from being evicted from their homes for nonpayment of rent, where the tenant has suffered financially due to the public health crisis.

If a survivor is facing eviction or has fallen behind on rent payments, they may apply for protection against eviction. See the Housing and Eviction Guidance.

Survivors may consult local Legal Aide offices for eviction and housing concerns.

Eviction Assitance Programs in Ohio

*Resources by county are listed in the Housing and Eviction Guidance document.

Legal Representation/Assistance

The Legal Aid Society of Columbus: https://www.columbuslegalaid.org/get-help/housing/evictions/

  • Provides assistance and representation for tenants facing eviction

The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland: https://lasclev.org/contact/

  • Provides assistance and representation for tenants facing eviction
  • May also help homeowners facing foreclosure
  • The City of Cleveland recently passed legislation providing those facing eviction proceedings with assistance from Legal Aid Society of Cleveland

The Legal Aid Society of Cincinnati: https://www.lascinti.org/what-we-do/practice-groups/housing-consumer/

  • Provides assistance and representation for tenants facing eviction
  • May help prevent lock-outs, utility shut-offs, and other emerging threats to housing

Community Legal Aid: https://www.communitylegalaid.org/node/113/facing-eviction-public-or-subsidized-housing

  • Provide assistance and representation for qualifying tenants facing eviction

National Lawyers Guild: https://www.nlg.org/referral-directory/?civiwp=CiviCRM&q=civicrm%2Fprofile&_qf_Search_display=true&qfKey=181674da7e778dedcb833c1c2ff74d93_8931

  • Contains directory of Ohio attorneys which may provide assistance and representation for tenants facing eviction

Equality Ohio: https://equalityohio.org/legal-clinic/

  • Provides legal assistance and representation to LGBTQ+ community living within 300% of the federal poverty line
  • Provides trauma-informed care
  • While not directly eviction assistance has a wide network of attorneys and is willing to assist by referring potential clients to attorneys

Tenant Assistance Project (TAP): (330-983-2528)

  • Dedicated hotline for tenants to call for advice from an attorney
  • Created by the Legal Aid Society of Columbus
  • Works in conjunction with the Franklin County Municipal Court

Financial Assistance/Emergency Funds

Cuyahoga County

Cuyahoga Country Rental Assistance: https://cuyahogacounty.us/helpforrenters#xXvygLu-4BFw.facebook

  • Provides emergency funds for tenants to combat housing instability during the ongoing pandemic
    • May provide up to three months in emergency rental assistance
    • Payments are made directly to landlords

CHN Housing Partners Rental Assistance: https://chnhousingpartners.org/rentalassistance/

  • May provide emergency funds for tenants in Cuyahoga county facing financial hardship due to the pandemic

Franklin County

Franklin County Job & Family Services: https://jfs.franklincountyohio.gov/emergency-assistance-(prc)

  • Provides one-time emergency rental assistance funds for qualifying Franklin county residents
    • One-time payment of up to $1,500
    • Must be used to evade eviction or utility shut-off

Impact Community Action: https://www.impactca.org/what_we_do/programs/emergency_assistance/emergency_assistance.html

  • Provides emergency rental assistance funds for qualifying tenants and mortgage holders in Columbus/Franklin county

Hamilton County

Hamilton County Cares Rent and Utility Relief: https://www.hamiltoncountyohio.gov/about/news/rent_and_utility_relief_program_launches

  • Provides short term assistance to qualifying renters in Hamilton County who can document income loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Provide funds for up to three-months or a maximum of $2,500 for those earning 80% of Area Median Income

Summit County

Summit County Cares: http://summitcountycares.org/

  • Provides short term assistance for rent and mortgage costs for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Must have an unpaid bill or balance
  • Program is now closed

Toledo

Renters Assistance: https://toledo.oh.gov/renters

  • Provides up to three months of rent payments for qualifying tenants, paid to qualified landlords

Unemployment Benefits

Survivors can seek unemployment benefits online. In the event that they do not qualify for unemployment benefits but need financial assistance, they can apply for Crime Victim Compensation online through the Attorney General program.

General Guidance for Legal Advocates:

  • Call the Clerk of Court’s Office and/or the Court before arriving. Operations are changing day to day.
  • Whenever possible, submit any filings, etc. by mail, fax, or electronically. Courts that do not typically accept these means of filings may now. For example, a court may permit email/electronic filing where in person filing was required previously. Contact the Clerk’s office to determine the preferred and most efficient means of filing.
    • Civil protection order petitions should still be filed in person in the Clerk’s office.
  • Provide warning to survivors:
    • There is uncertainty. There may be a lengthier delay than anticipated at this time. There may be a significant period of time before they are heard/ receive the relief they are seeking.
    • Survivors may be subjected to additional screening when entering courthouses or government offices. This may subject them to increased physical contact with security personnel.
    • Survivors may not be permitted to enter a building if security determines that they are a health risk (showing signs of fever, sneezing, poor hygiene).
    • Survivors may be ordered to “attend” hearings, etc. by phone or video. In this event, the survivor will not likely directly confront the perpetrator.
  • Courts are limiting the number of persons allowed in the courthouses/offices. Advocates should advise survivors not to bring other persons with them for support unless absolutely necessary.
    • Children may not be permitted inside court buildings. 
    • In the event a Court informs an Advocate that they are not allowed to enter and office and/or attend a hearing with a survivor, Contact Kandra at OAESV for support.
  • Survivors may need to consider contacting law enforcement if they are feeling unsafe where they would otherwise first seek a protection order for the most immediate response/results.
  • During this time of uncertainty, it is essential that survivors seeking legal assistance are guided by an attorney. Advocates should link survivors with legal representation wherever possible.

Recorded Webinars and Resources

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