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Lawrence County jury trials moving to offsite courtrooms

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IRONTON, OH (WOWK) – As courthouses are starting to reopen Monday, some courtrooms might not fit well with the new restrictions.

The Lawrence County courthouse will be opening its doors much like other courthouses across the state. With the new restrictions to follow social distancing guidelines, some courtrooms don’t have the space to spread out jurors.

Common Pleas Judge Andy Ballard says that his courtroom has several issues that would make jury trials almost impossible.

Unfortunately in my specific courtroom, I’ve got audio problems and if you’re sitting in my gallery, you don’t necessarily hear everything that’s being said from the witness stand and up on the bench.

Judge Andy Ballard

The Lawrence County court system is currently looking into off-site courtroom locations to fit the spacing needed. The rooms would need to be fairly large with enough space to spread out the jurors.

Two locations that came to mind were the Ironton High School auditorium and the Ohio University Southern Bowman auditorium. The two locations are located in the downtown area and would meet the spacing requirements.

Judge Ballard says that they have not reached out to officials with the Ironton High School or Ohio University Southern campus on the possibility of using their auditoriums. However, the two sites are still up for consideration.

Judge Ballard’s earliest trials have been scheduled for the end of June 2020. For more information on the Lawrence County court system, click here.

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