Oberlin Municipal Court is a single Judge Court. Thomas A. Januzzi is the Judge of the Court. Judge Januzzi was elected in November 2001, was re-elected in November 2007 and November 2013 and is presently serving a six year term beginning January 1, 2014.
You can reach the Judge’s office directly by calling 440-775-1402. This is the telephone of the Judicial Assistant. You cannot contact the Judge directly. Your call must be screened. The Judge is not trying to be impersonal or unfriendly or unhelpful by having the calls screened. Just like all of us the Judge has certain rules that he must follow. The rules that a Judge must follow are set forth in the Code of Judicial Conduct which is a set of rules adopted by the Supreme Court of Ohio. One of the rules discusses when a Judge may speak to parties or their attorneys in a pending case.
The rule is set forth in Rule 2.9 of the Code of Judicial Conduct:
RULE 2.9 Ex Parte Contacts and Communications with Others
(A) A judge shall not initiate, receive, permit, or consider ex parte communications, except as follows:
(1) When circumstances require it, an ex parte communication for scheduling, administrative, or emergency purposes, that does not address substantive matters or issues on the merits, is permitted, provided the judge reasonably believes that no party will gain a procedural, substantive, or tactical advantage as a result of the ex parte communication;
(2) A judge may obtain the advice of a disinterested expert on the law applicable to a proceeding before the judge, if the judge gives notice to the parties of the person consulted and the subject-matter of the advice solicited, and affords the parties a reasonable opportunity to object or respond to the advice received;
(3) A judge may consult with court staff and court officials whose functions are to aid the judge in carrying out the judge’s adjudicative responsibilities, or with other judges, provided the judge makes reasonable efforts to avoid receiving factual information that is not part of the record and does not abrogate the responsibility personally to decide the matter;
(4) A judge, with the consent of the parties, may confer separately with the parties and their lawyers in an effort to settle matters pending before the judge;
(5) A judge may initiate, receive, permit, or consider an ex parte communication when expressly authorized by law to do so;
(6) A judge may initiate, receive, permit, or consider an ex parte communication when administering a specialized docket, provided the judge reasonably believes that no party will gain a procedural, substantive, or tactical advantage while in the specialized docket program as a result of the ex parte communication.
(B) If a judge receives an unauthorized ex parte communication bearing upon the substance of a matter, the judge shall make provision promptly to notify the parties of the substance of the communication and provide the parties with an opportunity to respond.
(C) A judge shall not investigate facts in a matter independently, and shall consider only the evidence presented and any facts that may properly be judicially noticed.
The Judicial Assistant, one of the bailiffs or a member of the staff of the Clerk of Court can usually assist you in determining how and under what circumstances you are permitted to communicate with the Judge.