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Three levels of courts comprise the Ohio judicial system: the Supreme Court, appellate court and trial courts. The legal issues Ohioans wrestle with are handled on a daily basis by the trial courts, which include common pleas, county, municipal and mayor’s courts.
There are 88 Courts of Common Pleas, one in each county. Cases heard in these courts are divided into four categories: domestic relations, juvenile, probate and general. County and municipal courts handle misdemeanor offenses, traffic cases, domestic violence, DUI cases and civil actions up to $15,000. The more than 400 mayor’s courts handle misdemeanor offenses and traffic cases; they do not have juries. There is one Court of Claims that handles suits against the state and compensation for victims of crime.
If a party is not satisfied with the decision of the trial court, the decision can be appealed to the Courts of Appeal. There are 12 appellate courts in Ohio. If the outcome from the appellate court is still unsatisfactory, an appeal can be made to the Ohio Supreme Court, which is comprised of a chief justice and six justices. The Supreme Court chooses which cases to hear; in select cases, it may be the court of original jurisdiction.
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