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Ohio Court Records

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How Do Ohio Courts of Appeals Work?

The Ohio Courts of Appeals are the state’s intermediate-level appellate courts receiving appeals from lower courts.

The Ohio court system provides for twelve appellate districts in the state, with a Court of Appeals in each judicial district. Each Court of Appeals seats in all counties in the respective judicial districts and receives appeals from lower courts in the counties.

Parties to a case initially heard by lower courts may appeal to the Ohio Court of Appeals in the district where the case was heard. Although unsatisfied litigants may further appeal a case to the Supreme Court, most Ohio appeals end with the Court of Appeals’ ruling.

After a review, an Ohio Court of Appeals may alter, confirm, or reverse nearly all judgments by a lower court. However, note that the Court of Appeals does not have jurisdiction over an appeal from a lower court directly filed at the Ohio Supreme Court by law. This applies in cases where a party is appealing a death sentence pronounced by a lower court.

Persons interested in appealing a decision must begin by filing a notice of appeal with the court that passed the judgment. The appeal must be filed within 30 days of the court’s pronouncement. Note that another party to the same case may also file a notice of appeal within ten days of the first notice of appeal, or as prescribed by the Ohio Rules of Appellate Procedure.

A notice of appeal must contain the following information:

  • The name of the appealing party or appellant
  • Specific judgment or order being appealed
  • The name of the court that passed the judgment

Hearings at Ohio Courts of Appeals do not involve a jury and do not hear from witnesses or victims. Instead, the judges review the trial transcripts, attorneys’ briefs and hear oral arguments and briefs.

The Ohio Courts of Appeals has appellate jurisdiction over most cases from Municipal, County, Common Pleas Courts, Board of Tax Appeals, and the Public Utilities Commission. The court also hears appeals by right and interlocutory appeals for criminal, civil, and administrative cases. Furthermore, Ohio Courts of Appeals share original jurisdiction with the Ohio Supreme Court over applications for any of the following writs:

  • Prohibition (requesting a lower court to stop misusing judicial functions)
  • Habeas corpus (inquiry into illegal imprisonment or deprivation of custody)
  • Mandamus—(ordering any public agency or official to perform a required function)
  • Quo warranto—(related to any entity that misuses authority or power vested by a public office, corporate office, or any other establishment)
  • Procedendo (an order to a lower court requiring judgment on a case before it)

Note that the Tenth District Court of Appeals, based in Franklin County, may also receive appeals from the Ohio Court of Claims.

Ohio has varying numbers of judges in each of the state’s appellate districts. This number varies from four to twelve, depending on the volume of business or the district’s size. Ohio Courts of Appeals judges are elected in general elections and decide cases in panels of three.

Ohio Courts of Appeals judges serve six-year terms after winning a partisan primary election and nonpartisan general elections. For a subsequent term of six years, judges interested in retaining the position must apply for re-election and win. These elections occur in even-numbered years and are only available to prospective judges who meet specific requirements. All interested Courts of Appeals judges in Ohio must:

  • Be a licensed attorney
  • Have at least six years of experience as an attorney
  • Be a resident of the district of election
  • Must be younger than 70 years old

The Ohio judicial system does permit judges up to 70 years old to retain a position or apply for re-election. However, the Ohio Constitution allows the Court of Appeals’ Chief Justice to assign a judge above 70 years old to active duty. Appointed judges are paid on a per-day basis, an arrangement that does not affect the judge’s original retirement benefits.

If a judge retires, resigns, or is removed, the Ohio state governor is required to appoint an interim judge to fill the vacancy. However, the interim judge must participate in the first general election if the election is scheduled at least 40 days after the seat becomes vacant. Note that the interim judge is expected to serve the rest of a term if the departing judge’s term expires within one year immediately after the next general election.

Ohio Courts of Appeals judges are expected to elect a chief judge via a peer vote. The chief judge’s term lasts for one year.

Persons interested in opinions from an Ohio Court of Appeals may use the Ohio Judicial System online search function. Requestors must provide information about the desired opinion to use the search function.

Interested persons may select the specific District Court of Appeals, a date range, the county where the case was heard, case number, author, and the topics and issues if available. Note that if the specific District Court of Appeals is unknown, the requestor should select 'All-District Courts’ from the ‘Source’ drop-down menu. WebCite and Citation numbers are also available if the requestor has details.  

Visit the opinions search help page for more information on how to use each provided query.

Ohio has twelve appellate districts, which cover the state’s 88 counties. Some districts, such as the First, Eighth, and Tenth Districts all have one county each. Other districts have more counties, including the Fifth and Third Districts, which have 15 and 17 counties, respectively. For more details about each District Court of Appeals, its appellate judges, and contact information, use the details listed below:

First District – Hamilton County

Second District – Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, and Montgomery Counties

Third District - Allen, Auglaize, Crawford, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Logan, Marion, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Seneca, Shelby, Union, Van Wert, and Wyandot Counties

Fourth District - Adams, Athens, Gallia, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Pickaway, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington Counties

Fifth District - Ashland, Coshocton, Delaware, Fairfield, Guernsey, Holmes, Knox, Licking, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Perry, Richland, Stark, and Tuscarawas Counties

Sixth District - Erie, Fulton, Huron, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Williams, and Wood Counties

Seventh District - Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Jefferson, Mahoning, Monroe,

and Noble Counties 

Eighth District – Cuyahoga County

Ninth District - Lorain, Medina, Summit, and Wayne Counties

Tenth District – Franklin County

Eleventh District - Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Portage, and Trumbull Counties

Twelfth District - Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Fayette, Madison, Preble, and Warren Counties

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