Municipal judges make their case for new digs

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) — Youngstown Municipal Court judges Elizabeth Kobly and Robert Milich will not be hearing any cases this week.

They are in Columbus representing the court in a suit against the city over conditions at Youngstown Municipal Court, which is located inside City Hall.

The judges have urged City Council for years to upgrade the courts. Complaints have been heard surrounding many issues, including that the courtrooms are too dirty, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter and not well-maintained. Some of the improvements the judges would like to see include more space in the courtrooms and more security both in the hallways and in the courtrooms themselves.

The judges in 2009 asked the Ohio Supreme Court to force the city to pay for improved facilities.

Mayor John McNally, who also is an attorney, said the hearing will be held in front of a neutral third party appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court. He said the judge will hear testimony from Youngstown city officials and Youngstown Municipal Court officials over a four-day period.

McNally will testify Wednesday.

“I don’t think anybody here, and I don’t think anybody on City Council or in the court will really dispute what’s going on,” McNally said.

If the mayor gets his way, the court will be relocating to the City Hall Annex Building on the corner of Market and Front streets, which also is the former location of the post office and the federal court.

“It’s a great building. We would have to put some money into it to fix it up,” McNally said.

About 15 city officials will travel to Columbus for the hearing this week. The trip is costing taxpayers between $7,500 and $10,000.

After the hearing, the Supreme Court representative will issue a written decision, and there will possibly be some appeal procedures after that.

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