Investigation into why Ohio courts are being warned about sending certified mail, ‘Be careful’

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered new problems with your mail.

And, now, what we’ve exposed has even led a judge’s organization to send an alert to courts statewide since this could be affecting you in ways you never imagined.

Months ago, we revealed problems with certified mail, and new breakdowns have come to light.

We’ve shown you certified mail mayhem. Scribbled records. No proof that mail got to the right person.

And, even though we’ve put a spotlight on this repeatedly, we keep finding new examples.

In Strongsville, Shadi Taha told us he got three pieces of certified mail, but he never signed for any of them. And, when he called the Post Office, the response he received from a supervisor bothered him.

Taha said, “I was shocked that she told me the mailman signed my signature and stuck the mail in the mailbox. I think that’s disturbing.”

We’ve also shown you this problem also help people stay on the streets as they face criminal charges.

So, a judge’s organization has sent out a warning to all Ohio courts.

Paul Pfiefer, Executive Director of the Ohio Judicial Conference said, “The message is simple, really, two words. Be careful.”

With certified mail, anyone sending mail should be sure it gets delivered to the right person.

But, with scribbled receipts, the warnings to the courts tells judges not to rely on certified mail.

People facing eviction or criminal charges may not actually get notices for court dates.

Pfiefer said, “You could be facing a warrant for your arrest because you don’t show up when you didn’t know you were supposed to be in court.”

Of course, we contacted the Postal Service. We wanted to talk about this and find out what steps are being taken to fix this.

A spokesperson, though, told us the same thing we hear every time we ask. No interview. And, the postal service even added, “We have no additional comment.”

The Postal Service has said before that it loosened the rules for mail carriers getting signatures with certified mail due to COVID-19.

Shadi Taha, however, says there has to be a better way.

He said, “I think, even with the pandemic, there’s a right way of doing things, and there’s a wrong way of doing things.”

US Senator Sherrod Brown has also organized meetings between officials with the Postal Service and judges trying to address this, but there’s no indication of any concrete steps coming out of those discussions.

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