Ohio Court Records
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What Is The Difference Between Federal And State Crimes?
In the United States, a federal crime is a violation of state laws that is prosecuted in a federal court. In contrast, a state crime is a violation of state laws that is prosecuted in a state court. While most crimes committed in Ohio are prosecuted under state law, an individual who commits certain crimes can also be prosecuted under federal law depending on certain factors which include:
- The nature of the crime
- The locations of the crime
- The parties involved in the crime
Federal crimes by nature are violations of laws set under the United States Constitution or U.S. Code passed by Congress. These are crimes of national interest having greater severity or perpetrated on a larger scale. Acts of terrorism and crimes against national security are examples of federal crimes.
Certain violations of state laws are classified as federal crimes if the offense occurred in multiple states. Kidnapped that occurred in one state with the victim moved to another, or drug trafficking across a state’s border is a federal crime.
Similarly, the parties included in a crime help determine if it is a federal or a state violation. Crimes committed on federal property or against the federal government or its agent are termed federal crimes.
Some other examples of federal crimes include:
● Aggravated assault of a federal agent
● Armed robbery in a federal property or FDIC insured banks
● Counterfeiting currency
● Human trafficking (interstate)
● Identity theft
● Illegal immigration
● Internet fraud (with victims in more than one state)
● Mail and wire fraud
● Organized crimes
● Theft of a federal property
● War crimes
● Weapons trafficking
● White-collar financial crimes
● Violations of copyright, patent, maritime, and bankruptcy laws or federal treaties
Contrarily, in Ohio, an offense becomes a state crime where the person violates the state’s statutes as set out under the Ohio Revised Codes and Ohio Administration codes. These crimes are within and against the state of Ohio. Such crimes include:
● Armed robbery
● Assault and battery
● Drug possession and peddling
● Grand theft auto
● Kidnapping and extortion
● Reckless homicide
In a few cases, an offense may be classified as both federal and state crime. Such crimes are prosecuted in both federal and state courts without violating the double jeopardy clause. This happens when certain crimes violate both state and federal laws.
How Do State And Federal Courts Systems Differ?
State crimes are tried in state courts while federal crimes are tried in federal courts. Though there are similarities in the prosecution processes, these courts have specific differences in their legal systems. These differences are evident in terms of court levels, jurisdictions, and criminal justice procedures.
Ohio state courts are divided into three levels: the Supreme Court, the appellate courts, and the trial courts. The Supreme Court is the court of last resort in the state with seven justices,one of whom is the Chief Justice. The Court of Appealsconstitutes the intermediate appellate court hearing appeals of the trial courts’ cases. Ohio is made of 12 appellate districts, with each having a Court of Appeals.
Trial Courts are subdivided into municipal, county, and common pleas courts. Municipal and county courts hear civil cases and have limited jurisdiction over misdemeanors or preliminary felony hearing that fall within the geographical and legal jurisdiction.
Common pleas courts hear criminal cases and may be further separated into divisions like juvenile, probate, general, and domestic relations, for appropriate case trial. Also, there is the court of claims which hears civil suits against the state and victims’ appeals for compensation.
On the other hand, federal courts are divided into three levels: U.S. Supreme Court, Circuit Courts of Appeals, and U.S. District Courts. The U.S. Supreme Court is the highest in the country and consists of nine justices (one chief justice and eight associate justices). The United States Courts of Appeals are divided into 12 Circuit Courts with regional jurisdiction, Ohio falls under the sixth circuit with headquarters at Cincinnati. There are also two U.S. District Courts in Ohio; for the Southern District of Ohio and the Northern District of Ohio.
Cases in federal courts are prosecuted by U.S. Attorney or Assistant U.S. Attorney while cases in state courts are prosecuted by a state, district, or city attorney. Meanwhile, federal judges are appointed while state judges can be appointed and elected.
Furthermore, enforcement of federal crimes is different from that of state crimes. State crimes are enforced by state or local police departments and county sheriffs, while federal crimes are enforced by federal authorities like:
● Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
● Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
● Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
● Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Lastly, penalties for federal crimes are more severe than that of state crimes and may be prosecuted differently in terms of testimonies, evidence, and trial system.
How Many Federal Courts Are There In Ohio?
There are two federal district courts in Ohio: the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio andDistrict Court for the Northern District of Ohio, both courts cover the 88 counties in the state.
The U.S District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (OHSD) has 48 counties under its jurisdiction and is further divided into two divisions; the eastern division with 30 counties and western division with 18 counties.
● Athens County
● Belmont County
● Coshocton County
● Delaware County
● Fairfield County
● Fayette County
● Franklin County
● Gallia County
● Guernsey County
● Harrison County
● Hocking County
● Jackson County
● Jefferson County
● Knox County
● Licking County
● Logan County
● Madison County
● Meigs County
● Monroe County
● Morgan County
● Morrow County
● Muskingum County
● Noble County
● Perry County
● Pickaway County
● Pike County
● Ross County
● Union County
● Vinton County
● Washington County
● Adams County
● Brown County
● Butler County
● Champaign County
● Clark County
● Clermont County
● Clinton County
● Darke County
● Greene County
● Hamilton County
● Highland County
● Lawrence County
● Miami County
● Montgomery County
● Preble County
● Scioto County
● Shelby County
● Warren County
The U.S District Court for the Southern District of Ohio is located at
Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse
100 East Fifth Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Phone: (513) 564–7500
Walter H. Rice Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse
200 W. Second Street
Dayton, Ohio 45402
Phone: (937) 512–1400
Joseph P. Kinneary U.S. Courthouse
85 Marconi Boulevard
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: (614) 719–3000
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio has 40 counties under its jurisdiction and is further divided into two divisions; the eastern division with 19 counties and western division with 21 counties.
● Ashland County
● Ashtabula County
● Carroll County
● Crawford County
● Columbiana County
● Cuyahoga County
● Geauga County
● Holmes County
● Lake County
● Lorain County
● Mahoning County
● Medina County
● Portage County
● Richland County
● Stark County
● Summit County
● Trumbull County
● Tuscarawas County
● Wayne County
● Allen County
● Auglaize County
● Defiance County
● Erie County
● Fulton County
● Hancock County
● Hardin County
● Henry County
● Huron County
● Lucas County
● Marion County
● Mercer County
● Ottawa County
● Paulding County
● Putnam County
● Sandusky County
● Seneca County
● Van Wert County
● Williams County
● Wood County
● Wyandot County
The U.S District Court for the Northern District of Ohio is located at:
John F. Seiberling Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse
2 South Main Street
Akron, Ohio 44308
Phone: (330) 252–6000
Carl B. Stokes U.S. Courthouse
801 West Superior Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
Phone: (216) 357–7000
James M. Ashley and Thomas W. L. Ashley U.S. Courthouse
1716 Spielbusch Avenue
Toledo, Ohio 43604
Phone: (419) 213–5500
Thomas D. Lambros Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse
125 Market Street
Youngstown, Ohio 44503
Phone: (330) 884–7400
Are Federal Cases Public Records?
Federal cases are public records in the United States. The Federal Records Act (U.S. Code. § 44–2901 till 3315) and the Freedom of Information Act allows members of the public to view, inspect, and obtain copies of federal case records maintained by federal courts.
How To Find Federal Courts Records Online In Ohio
Finding and obtaining federal court records online in Ohio is dependent on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) case locator. The public may found the link to the case locator on the PACER homepage or the individual federal court website.
To use the PACER case locator, interested persons should:
● Access the index through registration and login. Case only registration will require interested persons to fill personal information.
● Use the quick search feature and select the type of record required in terms of cases, parties, or bankruptcy.
● Conduct a basic or advanced search to streamline results or a public query to get case number
● Input necessary information. For case search, this includes details on court type case number, case title, court type, region, or date. For party search, this includes details on the party, party role, court type, and region. Bankruptcy search may require details like tax identification number, date filed, date closed, court type, region, party role, etc.
● Pay necessary fees to access required case information
Note: PACER requests can only be made on closed cases. Records of sealed or restricted court cases cannot be accessed through this automated system.
How To Find Federal Court Records In Ohio?
For cases held at the Federal District Courts in Ohio, the public may obtain paper copies by visiting the office of the clerk of the federal court where the criminal or civil case was filed or heard.
Transcripts of proceedings for open or unrestricted court can also be obtained under the Federal Court Reporting Program. Requests for court copies and transcripts may differ but usually involve:
● Writing a formal request or filling request forms
● Making the request in-person, online, via fax or mail
● Presenting a valid identification if required
● Paying required charges
The majority of records before the year 2000 have been removed from federal courts and sent to the National Archives. Requests to copy such records can be sent via mail, fax, or email after completing the required forms. Alternatively, the request can be made in person at these facilities:
3150 Springboro Road,
Moraine, OH 45439
8801 Kingsridge Drive,
Miamisburg, OH 45458
Can Federal Crimes Be Dismissed?
Federal crimes can be dismissed, although this is very rare. Dismissals can be done pre-trial by the preceding judge voluntarily or after the defense attorney files a motion. The primary grounds for the dismissals of federal crimes are wrongful criminal procedures and the arrival of crucial evidence that exonerates the defendant.
How Do I Clear My Federal Criminal Record?
There are no statutory provisions, set conditions, or current mechanisms for clearing records of federal conviction or non-conviction cases. However, interested persons can still petition a court for record sealing under applicable laws. Records can be sealed or expunged under specific provisions in the U.S. Code that allow for non-disclosure of certain information concerning child and trafficking victims, closed courtrooms, protective orders, and certain civil proceedings.
Examples of such legal provisions include the orders to preserve confidentiality, privacy protection, national security act, right to the financial privacy act, or protect certain information from being disclosed to the public by record custodians.
Petitions can be filed to seal parts or all of a court record under the following conditions:
● To protect minors or juvenile offenders
● To protect physicians’ reputations
● To protect the privacy of medical information
● To protect trade secrets or confidential business information
● To seal cases concerning national secrets
● To seal information concerning confidential settlement agreements
● To seal qui tam lawsuits filed under the false claims act
Records that have been sealed can only be accessed by a few authorized persons, court personnel, or law enforcement agencies.