Tradition upheld at courthouse

Opening of the courts

A long-time tradition was upheld on Monday inside the Mahoning County Courthouse.

Members of the Mahoning County Bar Association observed the ceremonial “opening of court” for the year.

These days the practice is more of a formality for lawyers and judges but it dates back to a time when courthouses were not ‘climate-controlled’ and it would get too hot and muggy in the summer.

Now, the “opening” is used to recognize attorneys with at least 25 years of service and to introduce new members of the bar.

“They would literally close the courts down and wait until the fall to call everyone back, including juries,” said Mahoning County Bar Association President Ed Hartwig. “We’d have no jury trials in the summer. So then it became ceremonial to literally open up the courts again in the fall.”

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