Ohio’s Municipal and County Courts are the limited jurisdiction courts for the state. They handle mostly local ordinance violations and simple cases. The General Assembly created these courts in 1901 and 1907.
Municipal Courts have countywide jurisdiction in some counties. In counties where this is not the case, then the towns will create a County Court instead. Both Municipal and County Courts are almost identical in terms of structure and authority. Municipal and County Courts can hold jury or bench trials.
The types of cases heard in Municipal and County Courts are tort cases, real property issues of up to $15,00 and small claims of up to $6,000, along with other civil matters. They also resolve criminal issues, petty misdemeanors, hold preliminary hearings for felonies and deal with local ordinance violations and traffic issues.
Municipal and County Court judges are elected into office in nonpartisan elections. They serve six-year terms and may perform marriage ceremonies. Municipal Court judges may work in more than one municipality, crossing borders in adjacent towns or work all over the entire county. All County Court judges work part-time. Some Municipal Court judges are also part-time. All must be licensed attorneys who practiced law for at least six years before being elected into their seat.
Ohio’s Judicial System website has a page of all trial courts in the state, listed alphabetically. If patrons have any trouble finding their court, there is an email address and phone number to use for support. Each listing includes the judge, court location, and contact details.
For the last year tallied, Municipal and County Court judges saw an average of $1,564 civil cases, 2,233 criminal cases, and 5,642 traffic-related legal issues, per judge, per court. The annual total of all cases was 394,212.