I-TEAM: Local judge telling drivers not to come to court for traffic cases due to coronavirus concerns

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PARMA, Ohio (WJW) — The I-TEAM has found another local court doing something extraordinary because of the coronavirus, and it could give many drivers a break.

Parma Municipal Court will now allow many drivers to simply pay fines online in more cases than before, instead of seeing a judge. It could save you from getting points on your license.

“Not minimizing anything. Prioritizing,” said Presiding Judge Timothy Gilligan, who has put up police tape in his courtroom so no one can approach the bench.

He said hundreds of people show up at a time for traffic cases in his court. Parma court serves that city and several western suburbs.

Experts keep saying the coronavirus is more likely to spread in large crowds, so the judge wants to make sure the courthouse doesn’t have to close.

“We’re gonna have domestic violence. We’re gonna have murders and rape arraignments. We are going to have offenses that must be addressed on a daily basis, so this place must maintain its operation and stay open,” he explained.

This means if you get cited for speeding, maybe when you’ve already had another ticket in the last year or you run a stop sign, you won’t have to come to court. But something like driving with no license, drunk driving, or if you’ve had an accident, you’ll still have to come here to face a judge.

“We are thinking outside the box. What’s the best way to limit exposure,” said Judge Gilligan.

To plead not guilty, request a new trial date or find out more, call the courthouse at 440-887-7400. You can also email clerk@parmamunicourt.org.

Court staff are currently working on updating their computer system because of the new changes just announced. Those updates should be completed by late Monday.

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