A Morrow County court is going BYOP: Bring your own paper.
The Municipal Court that handles civil, small claims, criminal and traffic cases won’t accept new case filings starting Monday because it’s almost out of supplies and has no money to re-order.
The court has just enough paper to handle hearing notices and other documents for pending cases, but not new ones, Judge Lee W. McClelland said.
“Basically, unless they want to provide paper, we can’t process anything,” he said.
The judge sent a memo explaining the problem to local government and law-enforcement officials this week. He said that the county hasn’t yet paid the bill for basic supplies the court ordered and had delivered back in November. The purchase orders sent to the county auditor were returned, “indicating that no funds were available to pay them,” McClelland wrote.
Morrow County Sheriff Steven R. Brenneman received McClelland’s memo. He doesn’t understand how a court can refuse to take legal charges.
“We are going to do our job, and if we make arrests or issue citations, we’re taking them to the court,” Brenneman said. “Whether the court accepts them, I guess that’s something they’re going to have to deal with.”
McClelland also announced that his court, like many other Morrow County government offices hit with budget cuts, will switch to a four-day workweek and be closed on Friday starting the week of March 30. The court will operate 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Several agencies already have volunteered to bring in enough paper to process their own Municipal Court filings, McClelland said.
“They’re still going to issue tickets, and the court is going to be open to take pleas,” McClelland said. …