Ohio Court Records

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How Do Ohio Mayor’s Courts Work?

Ohio Mayor’s Courts are an exception to other courts in the state. The court is not a part of the Ohio judicial system and, therefore, not under the supervision of the Supreme Court. Although an Ohio Mayor’s Court has the authority to hear some cases, it is not a court of record. Regardless of these restrictions, Ohio Mayor’s Courts are still required to file quarterly and annual case statistics with the state Supreme Court. Also, the rules guiding the court procedures and legal education for the courts’ mayors are adopted by the Supreme Court.

A Mayor’s Court does not have the authorization to hold a jury trial. All cases that require jury trials must be transferred to a trial court of limited jurisdiction in the territorial jurisdiction of the Mayor’s Court. This may be a Municipal Court or a County Court as available in the jurisdiction. Typically, cases that require a trial carry a possible fine of more than $150. Note that Mayor’s Courts have no judges.

Not all Ohio counties have Mayor’s Courts. The courts are usually created in municipalities with more than 200 people, where the Municipal or County Courts have no jurisdiction. However, Brown and Morrow Counties are exceptions as the Georgetown Mayor Court and Mount Gilead Mayor’s Courts have concurrent jurisdiction with the Municipal Courts.

Ohio Mayor’s Courts have jurisdiction over the following types of cases:

  • Violations of municipal ordinances
  • Certain criminal traffic cases such as driving under the influence of alcohol or another controlled substance
  • Some parking violations
  • Minor misdemeanors
  • Most other offenses not punishable by jail time

A Mayor’s Court does not have jurisdiction over several cases. Such cases include suspected kidnapping, serious assault charges, domestic violence, aggravated trespass, or any felony. Also, a Mayor’s Court may not hear a case on violation of protective orders, even if the offense was charged as a misdemeanor.

Although a Mayor’s Court is not a court of record, transcripts of proceedings may still be collected by the clerk of the court. These transcripts are used when a party to a case is appealing to a Mayor’s Court ruling. All appeals from Mayor’s Courts go directly to the Municipal Court or County Court within the jurisdiction of the Mayor’s Courts. Upon filing a notice of appeal, the clerk of the Mayor’s Court shall certify a transcript of the proceedings and deliver the transcript to the court with appellate jurisdiction over the case. The transcript should be delivered along with the original papers used in the trial and other related documents. Note that the delivery must happen within fifteen days of the Mayor’s Court ruling.

Mayor’s Courts are presided over by a magistrate who is appointed by the mayor. In some cases, a hearing may be presided over by both the magistrate and the mayor. Mayors that preside over Mayor’s Courts are not required to have practiced law or hold a law degree. On the other hand, magistrates must have a law degree and at least three years of experience in the practice of law in Ohio. For the first year, magistrates and mayors qualify to hear cases in a Mayor’s Court by completing six hours of training. For subsequent years, magistrates and mayors only require three hours of training. There are also basic legal education procedures for mayors.

According to Section 1905.20 of the Ohio Revised Code, a mayor has the following powers:

  • All powers to keep the peace, maintain order and contain disorder, equivalent to powers granted to sheriffs
  • The power to award or issue all writs deemed necessary to administer and enforce justice in the municipal corporation
  • Punish contempt
  • Compel the attendance of witnesses
  • Establish rules for the examination or hearing of all cases brought before the mayor

In hearing and determining any case brought before the Mayor’s Courts, magistrates may also exercise the same powers above. All official documents, including processes, transcripts, and writs, must carry the mayor’s name. However, note that a mayor cannot be part of any case where the mayor was present at the time of arrest, was the arresting officer, or assisted in the arrest in any way.

Mayor’s Court records are considered public records and available to members of the public upon request. Some counties provide online search functions where interested persons may find details on several cases heard by the state’s Mayor’s Courts. For instance, the City of Dublin provides a case explorer to access records. The City of Monroe also provides a court record search function.

Alternatively, interested persons may directly reach out to the Mayor’s Court that handled the case for the desired record. Note that some counties may have more than one Mayor’s Court. The following are the counties with Mayor’s Courts in Ohio and the respective number of courts.

  • Adams County (1)
  • Allen County (4)
  • Ashland County (1)
  • Ashtabula County (3)
  • Athens County (1)
  • Auglaize County (2)
  • Belmont County (5)
  • Brown County (3)
  • Butler County (2)
  • Champaign County (3)
  • Clark County (2)
  • Clermont County (8)
  • Columbiana County (2)
  • Crawford County (1)
  • Cuyahoga County (18)
  • Darke County (1)
  • Delaware County (2)
  • Erie County (2)
  • Fairfield County (2)
  • Franklin County (17)
  • Greene County (1)
  • Guernsey County (2)
  • Hamilton County (23)
  • Hocking County (2)
  • Huron County (1)
  • Jackson County (1)
  • Jefferson County (7)
  • Lake County (6)
  • Lawrence County (5)
  • Licking County (10)
  • Logan County (1)
  • Lorain County (6)
  • Lucas County (1)
  • Madison County (1)
  • Mahoning County (4)
  • Medina County (3)
  • Meigs County (5)
  • Mercer County (3)
  • Miami County (2)
  • Monroe County (1)
  • Montgomery County (3)
  • Morgan County (2)
  • Morrow County (3)
  • Muskingum County (5)
  • Ottawa County  (2)
  • Paulding County (4)
  • Perry County (8)
  • Pickaway County (4)
  • Pike County (2)
  • Portage County (1)
  • Preble County (6)
  • Putnam County (1)
  • Richland County (6)
  • Sandusky County (2)
  • Scioto County (1)
  • Seneca County (3)
  • Shelby County (4)
  • Stark County (7)
  • Summit County (8)
  • Trumbull County (2)
  • Tuscarawas County (2)
  • Vinton County (1)
  • Warren County (7)
  • Washington County (3)
  • Wayne County (7)
  • Wood County (9)

 

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