Article IV, Ohio Constitution

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Ohio Constitution
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Article IV of the Ohio Constitution is entitled Judicial and consists of 22 sections.

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

Judicial Power Vested in Court

The judicial power of the state is vested in a supreme court, courts of appeals, courts of common pleas and divisions thereof, and such other courts inferior to the Supreme Court as may from time to time be established by law.

(1851, am. 1883, 1912, 1968, 1973)

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

Organization and Jurisdiction of Supreme Court

(A) The Supreme Court shall, until otherwise provided by law, consist of seven judges, who shall be known as the chief justice and justices. In case of the absence or disability of the chief justice, the judge having the period of longest total service upon the court shall be the acting chief justice. If any member of the court shall be unable, by reason of illness, disability or disqualification, to hear, consider and decide a cause or causes, the chief justice or the acting chief justice may direct any judge of any court of appeals to sit with the judges of the Supreme Court in the place and stead of the absent judge. A majority of the Supreme Court shall be necessary to constitute a quorum or to render a judgment.

(B)(1) The Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction in the following:

(a) Quo warranto;

(b) Mandamus;

(c) Habeas corpus;

(d) Prohibition;

(e) Procedendo;

(f) In any cause on review as may be necessary to its complete determination;

(g) Admission to the practice of law, the discipline of persons so admitted, and all other matters relating to the practice of law.

(2) The Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction as follows:

(a) In appeals from the courts of appeals as a matter of right in the following:

(i) Cases originating in the courts of appeals;

(ii) Cases in which the death penalty has been affirmed;

(iii) Cases involving questions arising under the constitution of the United States or of this state.

(b) In appeals from the courts of appeals in cases of felony on leave first obtained.

(c) In direct appeals fron the courts of common pleas or other courts of record inferior to the court of appeals as a matter of right in cases in which the death penalty has been imposed.

(d) Such revisory jurisdiction of the proceedings of administrative officers or agencies as may be conferred by law;

(e) In cases of public or great general interest, the Supreme Court may direct any court of appeals to certify its record to the Supreme Court, and may review and affirm, modify, or reverse the judgment of the court of appeals;

(f) The Supreme Court shall review and affirm, modify, or reverse the judgment in any case certified by any court of appeals pursuant to section 3(B)(4) of this article.

(3) No law shall be passed or rule made whereby any person shall be prevented from invoking the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

(C) The decisions in all cases in the Supreme Court shall be reported together with the reasons therefore.

(1851, am. 1883, 1912, 1944, 1968, 1994)

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Organization and Jurisdiction of Court of Appeals

(A) The state shall be divided by law into compact appellate districts in each of which there shall be a court of appeals consisting of three judges. Laws may be passed increasing the number of judges in any district wherein the volume of business may require such additional judge or judges. In districts having additional judges, three judges shall participate in the hearing and disposition of each case. The court shall hold sessions in each county of the district as the necessity arises. The county commissioners of each county shall provide a proper and convenient place for the court of appeals to hold court.

(B)(1) The courts of appeals shall have original jurisdiction in the following:

(a) Quo warranto;

(b) Mandamus;

(c) Habeas corpus;

(d) Prohibition;

(e) Procedendo

(f) In any cause on review as may be necessary to its complete determination.

(2) Courts of appeals shall have such jurisdiction as may be provided by law to review and affirm, modify, or reverse judgments or final orders of the courts of record inferior to the court of appeals within the district, except that courts of appeals shall not have jurisdiction to review on direct appeal a judgement that imposes a sentence of death. Courts of appeals shall have such appellate jurisdiction as may be provided by law to review and affirm, modify, or reverse final orders or actions of administrative officers or agencies. (3) A majority of the judges hearing the cause shall be necessary to render a judgment. Judgments of the courts of appeals are final except as provided in section 2(B)(2) of the article. No judgment resulting from a trial by jury shall be reversed on the weight of the evidence except by the concurrence of all three judges hearing the cause.

(4) Whenever the judges of a court of appeals find that a judgment upon which they have agreed is in conflict with a judgment pronounced upon the same question by any other court of appeals of the state, the judges shall certify the record of the case to the Supreme Court for review and final determination.

(C) Laws may be passed providing for the reporting of cases in the courts of appeals.

(1968, am. 1994)

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Organization and Jurisdiction of Common Pleas Court

(A) There shall be a court of common pleas and such divisions thereof as may be established by law serving each county of the state. Any judge of a court of common pleas or a division thereof may temporarily hold court in any county. In the interests of the fair, impartial, speedy, and sure administration of justice, each county shall have one or more resident judges, or two or more counties may be combined into districts having one or more judges resident in the district and serving the common pleas court of all counties in the district, as may be provided by law. Judges serving a district shall sit in each county in the district as the business of the court requires. In counties or districts having more than one judge of the court of common pleas, the judges shall select one of their number to act as presiding judge, to serve at their pleasure. If the judges are unable because of equal division of the vote to make such selection, the judge having the longest total service on the court of common pleas shall serve as presiding judge until selection is made by vote. The presiding judge shall have such duties and exercise such powers as are prescribed by rule of the Supreme Court.

(B) The courts of common pleas and divisions thereof shall have such original jurisdiction over all justiciable matters and such powers of review of proceedings of administrative officers and agencies as may be provided by law.

(C) Unless otherwise provided by law, there shall be probate division and such other divisions of the courts of common pleas as may be provided by law. Judges shall be elected specifically to such probate division and to such other divisions. The judges of the probate division shall be empowered to employ and control the clerks, employees, deputies, and referees of such probate division of the common pleas courts.

(1968, am. 1973)

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

Powers and Duties of Supreme Court; Rules

(A)(1) In addition to all other powers vested by this article in the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court shall have general superintendence over all courts in the state. Such general superintending power shall be exercised by the chief justice in accordance with rules promulgated by the Supreme Court

(2) The Supreme Court shall appoint an administrative director who shall assist the chief justice and who shall serve at the pleasure of the court. The compensation and duties of the administrative director shall be determined by the court.

(3) The chief justice or acting chief justice, as necessity arises, shall assign any judge of a court of common pleas or a division thereof temporarily to sit or hold court on any other court of common pleas or division thereof or any court of appeals or shall assign any judge of a court of appeals temporarily to sit or hold court on any other court of appeals or any court of common pleas or division thereof and upon such assignment said judge shall serve in such assigned capacity until the termination of the assignment. Rules may be adopted to provide for the temporary assignment of judges to sit and hold court in any court established by law.

(B) The Supreme Court shall prescribe rules governing practice and procedure in all courts of the state, which rules shall not abridge, enlarge, or modify any substantive right. Proposed rules shall be filed by the court, not later than the fifteenth day of January, with the clerk of each house of the General Assembly during a regular session thereof, and amendments to any such proposed rules may be so filed not later than the first day of May in that session. Such rules shall take effect on the following first day of July, unless prior to such day the General Assembly adopts a concurrent resolution of disapproval. All laws in conflict with such rules shall be of no further force or effect after such rules have taken effect. Courts may adopt additional rules concerning local practice in their respective courts which are not inconsistent with the rules promulgated by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court may make rules to require uniform record keeping for all courts of the state, and shall make rules governing the admission to the practice of law and discipline of persons so admitted.

(C) The chief justice of the Supreme Court or any judge of that court designated by him shall pass upon the disqualification of any judge of the courts of appeals or courts of common pleas or division thereof. Rules may be adopted to provide for the hearing or disqualification matters involving judges of courts established by law.

(1968, am. 1973)

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

Election of Judges; Compensation

(A)(1) The chief justice and the justices of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the electors of the state at large, for terms of not less than six years.

(2) The judges of the courts of appeals shall be elected by the electors of their respective appellate districts, for terms of not less than six years.

(3) The judges of the courts of common pleas and the divisions thereof shall be elected by the electors of the counties, districts, or, as may be provided by law, other subdivisions, in which their respective courts are located, for terms of not less than six years, and each judge of a court of common pleas or division thereof shall reside during his term of office in the county, district, or subdivision in which his court is located.

(4) Terms of office of all judges shall begin on the days fixed by law, and laws shall be enacted to prescribe the times and mode of their election.

(B) The judges of the Supreme Court, courts of appeals, courts of common pleas, and divisions thereof, and of all courts of record established by law, shall, at stated times, receive for their services such compensation as may be provided by law, which shall not be diminished during their term of office. The compensation of all judges of the Supreme Court, except that of the chief justice, shall be the same. The compensation of all judges of the courts of appeals shall be the same. Common pleas judges and judges of divisions thereof, and judges of all courts of record established by law shall receive such compensation as may be provided by law. Judges shall receive no fees or perquisites, nor hold any other office of profit or trust, under the authority of this state, or of the United States. All votes for any judge, for any elective office, except a judicial office, under the authority of this state, given by the General Assembly, or the people shall be void.

(C) No person shall be elected or appointed to any judicial office if on or before the day when he shall assume the office and enter upon the discharge of its duties he shall have attained the age of seventy years. Any voluntarily retired judge, or any judge who is retired under this section, may be assigned with his consent, by the chief justice or acting chief justice of the Supreme Court to active duty as a judge and while so serving shall receive the established compensation for such office, computed upon a per diem basis, in addition to any retirement benefits to which he may be entitled. Laws may be passed providing retirement benefits for judges.

(1968, am. 1973)

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

Repealed

Probate courts. (1851, am. 1912, 1947, 1951, rep. 1968)

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

Repealed

Probate court; Jurisdiction. (1851, rep. 1968)

Section 9

Text of Section 9:

Repealed

Justices of the peace. (1851, rep. 1912)

Section 10

Text of Section 10:

Repealed

Other judges; election. (1851, rep. 1968)

Section 11

Text of Section 11:

Repealed

Classification of Supreme Court judges. (1851, rep. 1883)

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

Repealed

Vacancies, how filled. (1851, am. 1912, rep. 1968)

Section 13

Text of Section 13:

Vacancy in Office of Judge, How Filled

In case the office of any judge shall become vacant, before the expiration of the regular term for which he was elected, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment by the governor, until a successor is elected and has qualified; and such successor shall be elected for the unexpired term, at the first general election for the office which is vacant that occurs more than forty days after the vacancy shall have occurred; provided, however, that when the unexpired term ends within one year immediately following the date of such general election, an election to fill such unexpired term shall not be held and the appointment shall be for such unexpired term.

(1851, am. 1942)

Section 14

Text of Section 14:

Repealed

Referred to compensation and ineligibility for other office for Supreme Court justices and common pleas judges. (1851, rep. 1968)

Section 15

Text of Section 15:

Changing Number of Judges; Establishing Other Courts

Laws may be passed to increase or diminish the number of judges of the Supreme Court, to increase beyond one or diminish to one the number of judges of the court of common pleas in any county, and to establish other courts, whenever two-thirds of the members elected to each house shall concur therein; but no such change, addition or diminution shall vacate the office of any judge; and any existing court heretofore created by law shall continue in existence until otherwise provided.

(1851, am. 1912)

Section 16

Text of Section 16:

Repealed

Clerks of court elections. (1851, rep. 1933)

Section 17

Text of Section 17:

Judges Removable

Judges may be removed from office, by concurrent resolution of both houses of the General Assembly, if two-thirds of the members, elected to each house, concur therein; but, no such removal shall be made, except upon complaint, the substance of which shall be entered on the journal, nor, until the party charged shall have had notice thereof, and an opportunity to be heard.

Section 18

Text of Section 18:

Powers and Jurisdiction of Judges

The several judges of the Supreme Court, of the common pleas, and of such other courts as may be created, shall, respectively, have and exercise such power and jurisdiction, at chambers, or otherwise, as may be directed by law.

Section 19

Text of Section 19:

Courts of Conciliation

The General Assembly may establish courts of conciliation, and prescribe their powers and duties; but such courts shall not render final judgment in any case, except upon submission, by the parties, of the matter in dispute, and their agreement to abide such judgment.

Section 20

Text of Section 20:

Style of Process, Prosecution, and Indictment

The style of all process shall be, “The state of Ohio;” all prosecutions shall be carried on, in the name, and by the authority, of the state of Ohio; and all indictments shall conclude, “against the peace and dignity of the state of Ohio.”

Section [21]22

Text of Section [21]22:

Supreme Court Commission

A commission, which shall consist of five members, shall be appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, the members of which shall hold office for the term of three years from and after the first day of February, 1876, to dispose of such part of the business then on the dockets of the Supreme Court, as shall, by arrangement between said commission and said court, be transferred to such commission; and said commission shall have like jurisdiction and power in respect to such business as are or may be vested in said court; and the members of said commission shall receive a like compensation for the time being, with the judges of said court. A majority of the members of said commission shall be necessary to form a quorum or pronounce a deciThe sion, and its decision shall be certified, entered, and enforced as the judgments of the Supreme Court, and at the expiration of the term of said commission, all business undisposed of shall by it be certified to the Supreme Court and disposed of as if said commission had never existed. The clerk and reporter of said court shall be the clerk and reporter of said commission, and the commission shall have such other attendants not exceeding in number those provided by law for said court, which attendants said commission may appoint and remove at its pleasure. Any vacancy occurring in said commission, shall be filled by appointment of the governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, if the Senate be in session, and if the Senate be not in session, by the governor, but in such last case, such appointment shall expire at the end of the next session of the General Assembly. The General Assembly may, on application of the Supreme Court duly entered on the journal of the court and certified, provide by law, whenever two-thirds of such [each] house shall concur therein, from time to time, for the appointment, in like manner, of a like commission with like powers, jurisdiction and duties; provided, that the term of any such commission shall not exceed two years, nor shall it be created oftener than once in ten years.

Section 23

Text of Section 23:

Judges in Less Populous Counties; Service on More than One Court

Laws may be passed to provide that in any county having less than forty thousand population, as determined by the next preceding federal census, the board of county commissioners of such county, by a unanimous vote or ten percent of the number of electors of such county voting for governor at the next preceding election, by petition, may submit to the electors of such county the question of providing that in such county the same person shall serve as judge of the court of common pleas, judge of the probate court, judge of the juvenile court, judge of the municipal court, and judge of the county court, or of two or more of such courts. If a majority of the electors of such county vote in favor of such proposition, one person shall thereafter be elected to serve in such capacities, but this shall not affect the right of any judge then in office from continuing in office until the end of the term for which he was elected. Elections may be had in the same manner to discontinue or change the practice of having one person serve in the capacity of judge of more than one court when once adopted.

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