Mayor's Courts


Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook

Reproduced with permission from:
Timothy E. Pierce and the Franklin County Public Defender Office

R.C. 1905.25 -- "An appeal from the mayor's court to the municipal court or county court shall proceed as a trial de novo."
Indian Hill v. Ellis, 144 Ohio Misc. 2d 31, 2007-Ohio-6465 -- The Village of Indian Hill in Hamilton County owns a well field in adjacent Clermont County. The defendant was charged with trespassing on the well field under an Indian Hill ordinance. Because the offense took place outside the city limits, the Indian Hill Mayor‘s court determined it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case and pursuant to R.C. 1905.032(A) transferred the case to the Clermont County Municipal Court. That court refuses to accept jurisdiction. R.C. 715.50 permits municipalities to sometimes adopt ordinances for regulation of municipal property outside city limits, which – for example the Dayton airport – which may be prosecuted in the municipality‘s municipal court. The court is uncertain whether these must be specially adopted ordinances or whether the municipality‘s general ordinances may be enforced. Either way, R.C. 715.50 does not confer jurisdiction in the municipal court of the county where the property is located.
State ex rel. Montgomery County Public Defender v. Siroki, 108 Ohio St. 3d 334, 2006-Ohio-1065 -- Writ of mandamus issued directing the clerk of a mayor's court to file all documents presented to her by the public defender's office and its attorneys. While in a court of record there is a statutory procedure to resolve such a refusal, and the Supreme Court has held its own clerk may refuse filings upon instructions from the court, mayor's courts do not have this option.
Amberly v. Mize (2000), 106 Ohio Misc.2d 32 -- (1) Speedy trial statutes do not apply to proceedings in municipal court upon appeal from Mayor's court. (2) The fifteen days allowed for filing the transcript in the municipal court is directory. (3) Mayor may certify transcript as the clerk of the mayor's court.
Amberley v. Levine (2000), 108 Ohio Misc. 2d 13 -- Instead of complying with a mayor's court rule with respect to entry of not guilty pleas, defendant showed up prepared to go to trial on the initial appearance date. Case was rescheduled outside the 30-day speedy period applicable to speeding cases. Case should have been dismissed. At p. 17: "If a mayor's court chooses as policy not to have its witnesses present at the first appearance and no specific justifiable reason for the continuance beyond the thirty-day period is clearly set out by the court, the time runs against the municipality and the case must be reset within the time prescribed by R.C. 2945.71."
Tumey v. Ohio (1927), 273 U.S. 510 -- It is a denial of due process for a mayor to hear cases brought before a mayor's court when he has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the case. Compensation of mayor was tied to revenues which would be generated only if there was a conviction. Also see State, ex rel. Brockman, v. Proctor (1973), 35 Ohio St. 2d 79; Ward v. Monroeville (1972), 409 U.S. 57.
Covington v. Lyle (1982), 69 Ohio St. 2d 659 -- No due process violation where the mayor's powers are diluted under the "statutory form" of municipal government. Syllabus: "The mayor of a village, which is organized under R.C. Title 7, may try and decide a contested misdemeanor case without violating the constitutional right of the defendant to due process of law. (State, ex rel. Brockman, v. Proctor, 35 Ohio St. 2d 79, distinguished.) Also see Dugan v. Ohio (1928), 277 U.S. 61.
Wilson v. Neu (1984), 12 Ohio St. 3d 102 -- Paragraph two of the syllabus: "A municipality's operation of a mayor's court to enforce the laws of this state and its political subdivisions is an exercise of a judicial function and the city is thereby immune from liability for any action taken by the mayor in his judicial capacity. (Enghause Mfg. Co. v. Eriksson Engineering Ltd., 6 Ohio St. 3d 31, construed.)
State, ex rel Boston Heights, v. Petsche (1985), 27 Ohio App. 3d 106 -- A village cannot create a mayor's court by local ordinance, nor may it prevail in a mandamus action seeking to force mayor to establish an mayor's court.
State, ex rel Coyne, v. Todia (1989), 45 Ohio St. 3d 232 -- A Municipal Court may not divest a Mayor's Court of jurisdiction by having a municipal court judge sit in a municipal corporation within the territorial jurisdiction of the Municipal Court.
Oakwood v. Wuliger (1982), 69 Ohio St. 2d 452 -- By statute, the contempt power of a Mayor's Court is limited to acts committed in the presence of the court and does not reach indirect contempts such as failure to appear for a hearing.
State ex rel Fisher v. Burkhardt (1993), 66 Ohio St. 3d 189 -- Mayor's courts must collect and forward to the state costs taxed to for benefit of victims of crime and public defender funds.
North v. Russell (1975), 427 U.S. 328 -- It is not a denial of due process or equal protection for some defendants to be tried in courts where the presiding magistrate is not a lawyer, provided there is the remedy of a appeal in the form of a trial de novo in a court where the judge must be a lawyer.
Brunswick v. Giglio (1988), 39 Ohio Misc. 2d 5 -- A mayor's court is not a court of record and does not have authority to conduct a jury trial. If a defendant demands a jury trial, a case must be transferred to a court of record.
State, ex rel Brady, v. Howell (1977), 49 Ohio St. 2d 195 -- Prohibition does not lie to block Mayor's transfer of prosecution from Mayor's Court to Municipal Court after defendant's entry of a not guilty plea.
Whitehall v. Wolfe (1986), 27 Ohio App. 3d 357 -- Headnote: "There is no statutory provision authorizing a mayor's court to laterally transfer a case to another court of concurrent jurisdiction." (Here the Franklin County Municipal Court which had concurrent jurisdiction in misdemeanor cases.)
State v. Jarvis (1997), 121 Ohio App. 3d 105 -- R.C. 2945.71(A) allows 30 days for cases to be brought to trial in a mayor's court. Where a case was initially filed in municipal court, but dismissed and refiled in mayor's court, the time the case was pending in municipal court is to be added to the time it was pending in mayor's court.
Fairlawn v. Forney (1992), 82 Ohio App. 3d 47 -- Failure to file notice of appeal to Municipal Court within ten days of decision of the Mayor's Court deprives the Municipal Court of jurisdiction to hear the appeal.
Brecksville v. Cook (1996), 75 Ohio St. 3d 53 -- Syllabus: "The transfer of a case pursuant to R.C. 1905.032 from the mayor's court to the municipal court is a 'removal' within the meaning of R.C. 2945.72(F), and the period of delay necessary to the removal is the time from arrest or summons to the date the mayor's court certifies the case to the municipal court." Also see Gahanna v. Partlow (1985), 27 Ohio App. 3d 267.
Westerville v. Williams (1975), 1 Ohio Ops. 3d 412 -- When an appeal is taken from Mayor's Court to Municipal Court, time begins to run from the date the record is certified and the appeal is docketed.
Johnstown v. Tullos (1993), 63 Ohio Misc. 155 -- Case dismissed for speedy trial violation because of ninety-six delay in delivering papers to Municipal Court, following appeal from Mayor's Court.
Portage v. Belcher (1996), 117 Ohio App. 3d 90 -- Since the defendant received a trial de novo in municipal court, any errors committed in mayor's court were non prejudicial.

Publishing Information

Published by Timothy E. Pierce
Copyright © Franklin County Public Defender and Timothy E. Pierce, 2015
Contents may not be duplicated without express permission.