The Guernsey County Common Pleas Court was recently awarded over $49,000 for a remote technology grant offered by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Guernsey County Common Pleas Court Judge Daniel G. Padden applied for the grant and has been awarded $49,303.30 to buy remote connectivity and teleconferencing equipment, according to the release. Judge Padden further stated that the funds will include an upgrade to the current audio recording system at the court.

Padden thanked Jennifer Johnson, deputy clerk of courts, for her assistance in obtaining the grant along with Bailiff Randy LePage.

"Especially during this time, we will be using the equipment frequently for proceedings where people are in jail," said Judge Padden. "We will also look into whether it has any application for the prison system."

The equipment will allow the court to conduct essential hearings by video teleconference without subjecting the parties, court staff, sheriff’s office staff and attorneys to unnecessary health risks. It will also give the court staff the ability to connect remotely to court servers to conduct essential business from different locations as necessary.

The Ohio Supreme Court was releasing more than $4 million in the form of grants to local courts to obtain video teleconference equipment.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor of the Ohio Supreme Court had announced previously that the courts must be open to address emergency and time sensitive matters.

Total closure of the state’s courts and clerk of courts offices presents an issue with access to justice. While courts may be closed to the public for non-essential purposes, certain procedures can be taken to ensure access to justice while safeguarding the health of employees.