PORTSMOUTH — Since taking the helm as Judge of the Domestic Relations Court, Judge Buckler has made quite a few changes to the Court. Most recently, the Judge, with the assistance of the Scioto County Commissioners, set out to create a new courtroom for the Court’s Magistrate.
The Scioto County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, is situated on the third floor of the Scioto County Courthouse. The Honorable Jerry L. Buckler is the presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Court. The funds to establish a new court room were extracted from what is called a special projects fund.
“We did not use tax payer dollars to make these changes. Mr. Doug Coleman and the Commissioners allowed me to use some of their employees here to do some of the work,” Buckler said. “And then I used some funds from my special projects fund here at the courthouse, and that’s a fund designed where certain monies are deposited into special projects so that I can maintain certain things in the court, and I felt that establishing this new court was part of that. So that is why I used part of the funds from the special projects fund.”
The cost to bring the new court room into fruition was $15,000, according to Buckler.
Michael L. Jones serves as Magistrate of the Domestic Relations Court. When Judge Buckler initially appointed Jones as Magistrate, the Magistrate Courtroom was extremely small and housed in what can only be described as a large closet.
“This new court room is a lot better, especially for security purposes, because before we were literally in a room where the parties were almost on top of each other,” Jones said. “We deal with a lot of emotional type of cases, when people are facing child custody issues and things such as that, and can get very upset. So, from the security standpoint that was the biggest concern of Judge Buckler and I. Also, I think that it gives people a better feeling that they are in a court setting. We are ecstatic to be here.
Judge Buckler also believed the small courtroom was not safe for the litigants, the Magistrate, or the Court staff. When Fourth District Court of Appeals Judge Matthew McFarland vacated his offices on the third floor of the Courthouse, Judge Buckler saw a chance to expand the county’s Domestic Relations Court.
With the assistance and go-ahead of the Commissioners, especially the help and assistance of Commissioner Doug Coleman, Judge Buckler acquired the office space, designed the new Courtroom, and generally supervised the construction of the new Courtroom.
“Today, I’m proud to dedicate this new Magistrate’s Courtroom to the citizens of Scioto County,” beamed Judge Buckler. “The prior Courtroom did not even contain a bench, let alone adequate space for the parties involved. This newly built courtroom is state of the art, elegant, judicial, and a proper courtroom for our citizens.”
Buckler stated that “it has always been his belief that when a person enters a Courtroom, they should feel the weight of justice sitting on their shoulders. There should always be this sense of respect for the law. Our prior Magistrate’s Courtroom did not exude a sense of justice or respect for law.”
Buckler is also quick to point out that the role of the Domestic Relations Court Magistrate is very important. The Magistrate presides over child support cases, parentage actions, domestic violence civil protection order cases, and some child custody cases. The Magistrate maintains a busy trial docket that includes an average of sixty (60) child support contempt hearing per month.
The Magistrate is also responsible for the oversight of the IV-D contract the Scioto County Domestic Relations Court has with the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services to provide Magistrate services. For 2016, the IV-D contract amount is in excess of $220,000.00. These funds are deposited into the County’s general fund and are used to support the salaries for the Magistrate, assignment commissioner, bailiff, and court reporter.
“I would like to thank Commissioner Coleman for his unwavering support for the changes I have continuously proposed for the Domestic Relations Court,” Buckler said.“With the establishment and construction of this new Magistrate’s Courtroom, the citizens of Scioto County, for many years to come, will have a courtroom that all can be proud of, as well as a venue where the respect for the laws of the land can be seen and felt.”
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.
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