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Ohio Court System

Ohio Court System

Ohio’s Court System includes a Supreme Court, a Court of Appeals, Courts of Common Pleas, Municipal & County Courts, Mayor’s Courts and the Court of Claims. The Supreme Court was established by the State Constitution and is the highest court in the state. It is also called the Ohio court of last resort. There is one Chief Justice for the Supreme Court and six Associate Justices. Cases that go directly to the Supreme Court are cases involving the death penalty and issues with the Constitution.

The Ohio Court of Appeals was also established by the State Constitution and is the intermediate appellate court for the state. This court hears appeals from the Court of Common Pleas, Municipal and County courts. A panel of three judges hears each case brought to the Court of Appeals. Ohio is divided into 12 judicial districts, and each one has a Court of Appeals. Each district has at least four judges but some, depending on district population may have more than four. Each judge serves a six-year term.

Ohio’s Court of Common Pleas is further divided into divisions to handle things like domestic relations, juvenile issues, and probate matters. The state also has Municipal & County Courts and then Mayor’s Courts as well.

Supreme Court
Court of Appeals
Court of Common Pleas
Municipal Court
County Court
Court of Claims
Mayor's Court

Ohio Court Records That are not Open to the Public

The Freedom of Information Act ensures that most court records in Ohio will be available to the public for examination. Most cases heard in Courts of Common Pleas will be available online or in person at the courthouses. However, there are strict federal laws that prohibit specific, personal information from being made available to the general public. Things like tax IDs, bank account information, social security numbers, family members' names, home and business addresses, trade secrets and other sensitive data will be removed from the files before they are made public.

Filing Information

Filing Information

Ohio’s Supreme Court judicial branch website includes an e-Filing Portal for all types of trial courts and the Court of Claims. They instituted this service in April of 2017. They do however have an extensive list on their website of every court location along with the rules, presiding judge, courthouse address and other contact information. Patrons of the Ohio court system can use this information to file paperwork they need to in any of the trial courts. They can also contact the court by phone or email to ask further questions about filing a case in Ohio.

Search Ohio Court Records Online

Infotracer is the best option for finding court records quickly and easily. Access thousands of court cases in Ohio from all over the state, including Cuyahoga County, Franklin County, Hamilton County, and Summit County. Thanks to Ohio’s Open Records Law Ohio Rev. Code sec. 149.43 et seq., companies like Infotracer can offer court records on demand for criminal court cases, civil cases, family and probate court issues, bankruptcies, and more!

Anyone can perform a court records search privately without obtaining any special permission. The person does not even need a reason. Court records are publicly available except for things like juvenile court records which are sealed by law.

Enjoy instant free access to Ohio court records from various courts in the state. Performing an Ohio state court records search by name is the best way to lookup cases online from Ohio courts of common pleas, municipal & county courts, mayor’s courts, and the court of claims.

Ohio Court Statistics

In 2012, the Ohio courts received 3,435,430 filings. In 2016, the number of filings decreased by 9.9% and counted 3,094,586 filings and had 3,115,187 outgoing cases

Total State Caseloads

Year Total Caseload
2012 3,435,430
2013 3,409,281
2014 3,316,362
2015 3,168,126
2016 3,094,586

Share of Court Type Incoming Caseloads

Court Type Incoming Caseloads
Civil 17%
Criminal 25%
Domestic Relations 7%
Traffic 52%

Family Court Cases

Domestic relations caseload of Ohio at year end of 2016 has decreased by 12.3% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases have been 233,957 but are higher than in 2015.

Year Domestic Relations Caseload Total Statewide Caseload
2012 233,957 3,435,430
2013 227,076 3,409,281
2014 218,914 3,316,362
2015 210,878 3,168,126
2016 205,293 3,094,586

Ohio Criminal Caseloads

The number of criminal cases in Ohio courts counts to 766,771, with 167,621 felony cases and 599,150 misdemeanors accordingly.

Year Criminal Caseload Misdemeanor Caseload Felony Caseload
2012 825,416 659,105 166,311
2013 824,342 661,332 163,010
2014 813,238 648,677 164,561
2015 763,578 603,987 159,591
2016 766,771 599,150 167,621

Court of Common Pleas

Ohio’s Courts of Common Pleas are the general jurisdiction courts for the state, and they hear most civil and criminal actions. The Ohio Constitution created the Court of Common Pleas. These courts hold jury trials most often. Eighty-eight counties in Ohio have a Court of Common Pleas. Some are separated into divisions to handle things like domestic issues, juvenile delinquency, probate matters, and general legal actions. A Court of Common Pleas judge must be an attorney for six years before being elected into office for a six-year term. These courts resolve felonies, civil actions, domestic cases, real property issues of $15,000 or more, and appeals from lower courts.

Municipal & County Courts

The General Assembly created Ohio's Municipal and County Courts in 1901 and 1907. In some counties, Municipal Courts have countywide jurisdiction and therefore don’t need a County Court. If there is no Municipal Court to serve a county, then the county will create a County Court. These are limited jurisdiction courts that hold preliminary hearings for felonies, hear cases of traffic and non-traffic misdemeanors. Some civil actions are heard in Municipal and County Courts where the amount does not exceed $15,000. These local judges can also perform wedding ceremonies.

Mayor’s Courts

Mayor’s Courts in Ohio are not explicitly part of the regular judicial branch structure, they are more stand-alone courts, but they do report to the Supreme Court. These are special courts which deal with issues like alcohol and drug-related cases where traffic or other types of offenses have been committed. Along with Louisiana, Ohio is the only other state that allows a mayor to preside over a court in the state. If a town in Ohio has more than 200 residents and no Municipal Court, then the mayor will hear local traffic and ordinance violations in place of a regular court. Not all mayors are attorneys, and they are not required to be to officiate over a courtroom in Ohio.

Court of Claims

Ohio’s Court of Claims was explicitly created to handle all civil matters filed against the state of Ohio or a related agency. According to the Victims of Crime Act, this court also hears appeals from the Attorney General’s office. The types of cases heard in the Court of Claims are contract disputes, personal injury, property damage, immunity of state officers and employees and other discriminatory and wrongful imprisonment type cases. The Supreme Court assigns cases to the Court of Claims, and generally, a single judge will hear the case. In some instances, a panel of three judges will sit to hear a Court of Claims case.

Ohio Court Records Search