OTTAWA — Ohio Supreme Court Justices came to Putnam County for the Off-Site Court Program for the first time Wednesday at Ottawa-Glandorf High School to participate in a question and answer session with seniors and hear oral arguments for three cases currently on the court docket.
The event was attended by high school students from all Putnam County schools.
“The goal of the Supreme Court in doing this is to get into the schools to talk about the judicial system,” said Putnam County Common Pleas Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Michael Borer. “It give students a chance to see how the judicial system works.”
With the auditorium stage set up as a courtroom, proceedings began with Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor introducing each justice in order of seniority, starting with Justice Terrence O’Donnell.
“This will be his last Off-Site Court because he’s retiring next year,” O’Connor said. “Once we reach a certain age, we are not allowed to run again. We call it their expiration date. Don’t ask us what that is though.”
O’Connor later admitted the limit to be 70 years of age.
“I thought the justices were going to be really strict but they weren’t,” said Ottawa-Glandorf senior Mike Bowers. “Some of them had pretty funny jokes.”
After the question and answer session, the justices heard cases, with students from different high schools rotating in and out of auditorium throughout. Students leaving the auditorium were led to the gymnasium where Putnam County Common Pleas Judge Keith Schierloh debriefed them, answering any questions they had about the case they just witnessed.
“To see younger kids taking an interest and getting excited about it makes it that much more exciting for us,” Schierloh said.
The first case heard by the Ohio Supreme Court Justices Wednesday was National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Steven Schmitz. The case involved questions of statute of limitations on injury cases and when those cases can be filed legally.
The justices listened to each attorney’s arguments and interjected with comments and questions. After oral arguments were complete, O’Connor said the attorneys would be informed when the court made a decision.
“I want to give a ton of credit to our maintenance and custodial staff here,” said Ottawa-Glandorf Superintendent Don Horstman, “and to Jason Selgo, high school principal, and Justin Closson because when the officers of court got here to look at our facility, they had the stage setup so the officers could see how it looked.”
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