Paulding County Court will become a full-time Paulding County Municipal Court in 2020. Melinda Krick/Paulding County Progress
Paulding County Court will become a full-time Paulding County Municipal Court in 2020. Melinda Krick/Paulding County Progress
By MELINDA KRICK

Progress Editor

PAULDING – Ohio Governor John Kasich has signed a bill into law allowing the part time Paulding County County Court to become the full time Paulding County Municipal Court.

Am. HB 215 creates the Paulding County Municipal Court in Paulding on Jan. 1, 2020; establishes one full-time judgeship in that court; provides for the nomination of the judge by petition only; abolishes the Paulding County County Court on that date; and provides for the election for the Paulding County Municipal Court of one full-time judge in 2019.

The bill was one of 15 signed by Gov. Kasich prior to the holidays on Dec. 22.

The court is responsible for hearing criminal division, traffic division, and civil division cases, including misdemeanor criminal cases, complaints up to $15,000, small claims up to $6,000, and eviction cases. House Bill 215 was introduced to help accommodate the growing number of cases in Paulding County.

State Rep. Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) last week applauded Governor Kasich’s signing of House Bill 215. The legislation is the first bill sponsored by Rep. Riedel to be signed into law.

“I’m proud that my first bill signed into law is able to help the citizens of Paulding County,” Riedel stated. “I’m glad Judge Suzanne Rister approached me last spring with her request to create the Paulding County Municipal Court. It has the full support of the Paulding County commissioners and this law will serve the needs of the county with more efficiency and effectiveness.”

To make this change happen, Judge Rister had to get support from the county commissioners, Ohio Supreme Court, the Supreme Court justices, and state legislators. Before the legislative process began earlier this year, the Ohio Supreme Court looked at the volume of cases, population of the county and a five-year history of the cases, then reviewed how much the civil dockets, criminal dockets and traffic dockets have increased in the last five years.

The Progress contacted Judge Rister’s office for comment, but she has not responded.

Paulding County is one of the last counties in the state to still have a part-time judge. She currently is in court three days a week.