Ohio Supreme Court assigns visiting judge to Belmont County courts

Editor’s note: This story has been updated from its original version to reflect new information provided to The Intelligencer by the Ohio Supreme Court.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Ohio Supreme Court has assigned a visiting judge to take over the duties of Judge Mark Costine in Belmont County’s juvenile and probate courts. The assignment takes effect at midnight.

Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato said Judge David Stucki of Stark County, Ohio, has been assigned to preside over those courts indefinitely. Fregiato said the public will see no interruption in those courts’ operations.

Fregiato added that he and Common Pleas Judge John Vavra are monitoring the process carefully and believe it is proceeding very smoothly.

Edward Miller, spokesman for the Ohio Supreme Court, said Harrison County Judge Matthew Puskarich has been handling Costine’s duties since early February. No additional information regarding the reason for the high court’s decision to assign a visiting judge has been released.