Most Dayton federal court business ordered postponed as COVID-19 soars

The front windows of the Walter H. Rice Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse downtown. THOMAS GNAU / STAFF

Credit: Thomas Gnau

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The front windows of the Walter H. Rice Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse downtown. THOMAS GNAU / STAFF

Credit: Thomas Gnau

An order issued this week will postpone most business at the Dayton federal courthouse due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Chief Judge Algenon Marbley ordered that the federal courthouses in Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus make adjustments to the way they are operating until at least the end of the year.

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“All civil and criminal jury trials scheduled between the date of this order and December 31, 2020, are continued until a future date to be set by the assigned judge, except that, for criminal defendants in custody, a jury trial prior to Dec. 31, 2020, may proceed but only if the assigned judge deems that, in the interests of justice, it is absolutely necessary that the trial go forward,” the that was signed on Nov. 25 says.

The proceedings must only take place in a courtroom that has plexiglass shielding, the order says.

Other changes that the order mandates are naturalization ceremonies, whether they were scheduled to take place at the courthouse or at of off-site location were suspended until further notice, other hearings can only occur in person if determined necessary by the judge in the interest of justice and the general order does not prevent any proceedings from taking place through video or audio conferencing.

Also, the grand jury may only meet once a month and presentations will be limited to cases facing imminent statute of limitations expirations and anyone arrested or served with a summons prior to the order.

“Due to the unavailability of a grand jury in this district pursuant to this general order ... the 30 day time period for filing an indictment is hereby extended an additional 30 days as to each defendant during the time period set forth....”

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