OJC Constitution
As Amended September 14, 2012

ARTICLE I. — NAME AND PURPOSE

Section 1. Name.

The name of this organization shall be “Ohio Judicial Conference.”

Section 2. Purpose.

The purpose of the Ohio Judicial Conference shall be:

A.  To promote fair and effective administration of justice;

B.  To study the coordination of the work of the courts of Ohio;

C.  To encourage the uniform application of laws, rules, and practice throughout the State and within each division of the courts as integral parts of the judicial branch of the State of Ohio;

D.  To provide quality education for the Judiciary and other persons involved in the administration of justice;

E.  To promote the exchange of experiences and suggestions respecting the operation of the judicial branch;

F.  To consider the business and problems pertaining to the administration of justice and make recommendations for its improvement;

G.  To publish, sell and distribute reports, recommendations, educational materials and newsletters;

H.  To receive and accept grants, gifts, bequests, and devises, and expend them for special research and study relating to the administration of justice, for expenses of members in attending meetings and to further the purposes of the Ohio Judicial Conference;

I.  To report the proceedings of the Ohio Judicial Conference, and make recommendations for legislation to the Governor and General Assembly;

J.  To employ personnel and research assistants as may be required to carry out the purposes of the Ohio Judicial Conference;

K. To engage in such activities and projects as may be determined necessary and proper to promote justice, maintain the constitutional functions of the judicial branch of government, to comply with the provisions of R.C.105.91-105.97 and to do all things necessary to any of the foregoing.

L. To periodically develop, adopt and implement a strategic plan to accomplish the mission of the Ohio Judicial Conference.

 

ARTICLE II. — MEMBERSHIP AND DUES

Section 1. Qualifications.

A. Active Members

Every judicial officeholder of the State of Ohio shall be an active member of the Ohio Judicial Conference upon enrolling the name of the officeholder and successors with the secretary and paying the annual membership dues fixed by the Ohio Judicial Conference. For this purpose, the office of the Administrative Director of the Supreme Court of Ohio and the Executive Director of the Ohio Judicial Conference shall be considered judicial officeholders.

Every “voluntarily retired judge” as defined in the Guidelines for the Assignment of Judges is eligible to be an active member of the Ohio Judicial Conference.*

In addition, the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Courts of Appeals of Ohio, the Ohio Common Pleas Judges Association, the Ohio Association of Probate Court Judges, the Ohio Association of Juvenile Court Judges, the Ohio Association of Domestic Relations Judges, and the Association of Municipal-County Judges of Ohio, Inc., shall be active member associations of the Ohio Judicial Conference.

*Because the term "voluntarily retired judge" is no longer defined in the Supreme Court Guidelines for the Assignment of Judges, the Executive Committee has determined that if a retired judge is eligible for assignment under current guidelines or would be if they applied, then they are eligible for Ohio Judicial Conference membership. Additionally, they determined that those who live out of state continue to be eligible for membership, if that is the only bar to eligibility.

B. Honorary Members

Any person nominated by the nominating committee may be elected to honorary membership by members of the Executive Committee. An honorary member shall be entitled to attend and participate in all meetings of the Ohio Judicial Conference, but shall not be entitled to hold any office or vote on any Conference matters.

Section 2. Dues.

Each active member who is a sitting judge shall pay annual dues for the office. The dues amount shall be fixed by the Executive Committee and paid on or before February 1st of each year. Upon payment of annual dues, the judge becomes an active member of the Conference.

The Executive Committee may fix an annual dues amount for voluntarily retired judges. A voluntarily retired judge becomes an active member of the conference upon written application and payment of dues, if any.

Section 3. Voting Rights.

Each active member shall be entitled to cast one vote on all matters properly submitted to the members for action at any meeting of the members.

Section 4. Meetings.

The annual meeting of the members shall be held at such time and at such place as shall be fixed by the Executive Committee for the transaction of any and all business properly submitted to such meeting. Special meetings of the members may be held at such time and place as the Executive Committee shall determine.

All proceedings of the Ohio Judicial Conference shall be open to the public to the extent facilities permit. Reports of the meetings shall be published or otherwise made available to the public.

The Executive Committee may require a registration fee to cover the expenses of the meetings.

Section 5. Notice of Meetings.

Notice of meeting of the Ohio Judicial Conference shall be published at least once in For the Record, at least ten (10) days prior to the date of such meeting. Any member may waive such notice at, before or after any meeting.

Section 6. Quorum.

The presence in person of twenty-five (25) active members or ten percent (10%) of the active members, whichever is less, shall constitute a quorum at any meeting for the purpose of transacting any business properly submitted to the said members, provided further that a majority of the active members present at a meeting, whether or not a quorum is present, may adjourn such meeting from time to time until a quorum is present.

Section 7. Termination of Membership.

Membership in this association shall be terminated by the abolishment of the judicial office, or failure to pay dues.

Section 8. Reimbursement of Expenses.

No Conference member, with the exception of the Executive Director of the Ohio Judicial Conference, shall receive any compensation for services to the Conference including compensation for services performed in relation to projects or publications that result in income to the Conference. The Executive Director may approve reimbursement of expenses, including expenses for travel, food, and lodging, incurred by Conference members when such expenditures are reasonable and necessary for the furtherance of the purposes of the Ohio Judicial Conference in accordance with policies established by the Executive Committee.

 

ARTICLE III.—EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Section 1. The Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee shall consist of the officers of the Ohio Judicial Conference; the Co-Chairs of the standing committees of the Ohio Judicial Conference; the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio; the Chief Justice and the Chief Justice-elect of the Courts of Appeal of Ohio; the presiding officer and the presiding officer-elect of each member judicial association; the Administrative Director of the Supreme Court of Ohio; and the Executive Director of the Ohio Judicial Conference. Each member of the Executive Committee shall have one vote on all matters coming before the committee.

Section 2. Vacancies.

In the event that any member of the Executive Committee who is a committee Co-chair shall die, resign, withdraw, become incapacitated or otherwise be unable to perform duties of the office, the vacancy shall be filled by the Conference Chair for the unexpired term. 

Section 3. Compensation.

Members of the Executive Committee, with the exception of the Executive Director of the Ohio Judicial Conference, shall not be entitled to compensation for services rendered by them as such to the Conference.

Section 4. Meetings of Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee shall meet at least once per year and at such other times as may be necessary upon the call of the Chair or of a majority of the Executive Committee. When so called, it shall be the duty of the Executive Director to give notice thereof to each member of the Executive Committee by mail, telephone, or other electronic means, not less than two (2) days before the date of the meeting. Except as otherwise herein provided, the vote of a majority of those present at any meeting of the Executive Committee, if a quorum be present, shall be binding upon the Ohio Judicial Conference on all matters which are not inconsistent with any resolution adopted by the Conference at a meeting of the members.

Any member of the Executive Committee may waive notice of any meeting either before, at, or after the meeting. 

The members of the Executive Committee may also act by unanimous written consent without a meeting. The Executive Committee may conduct regular meetings by means of teleconference or videoconference, with statutory public access to these meetings to be permitted at the offices of the Ohio Judicial Conference or at such other sites as the majority of the committee might authorize on an ad hoc basis.

Section 5. Quorum.

Five members of the Executive Committee present at any meeting thereof shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at all meetings. Those present, though less than a quorum, shall have power to adjourn the meeting from time to time until a quorum shall be present.

Section 6. Powers of the Executive Committee.

All of the powers of the Ohio Judicial Conference, subject to the limitations of law, shall be exercised, controlled and conducted by the Executive Committee as they, in their absolute discretion, may deem proper to carry out and further the purposes for which the Ohio Judicial Conference is formed. 

During the periods when the Executive Committee is not in session, the officers of the Ohio Judicial Conference have the authority to act on behalf of the Executive Committee in their discretion when appropriate. 

 

ARTICLE IV. — OFFICERS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AND ELECTIONS

Section 1. Officers.

The officers of the Ohio Judicial Conference shall be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio, who shall be Honorary Chair; a Chair; a Chair-elect; a First Vice-Chair; a Second Vice-Chair; and the Immediate Past Chair. All officers shall be active members of the Ohio Judicial Conference.

Section 2. Terms of Elective Officers.

The terms of the office of the Chair, Chairs-elect, and Vice-Chairs shall be for two years beginning on October 1 of the even-numbered years.

Section 3. Nomination and Election of Officers.

Prior to the first meeting of the Executive Committee held in the second year of the term, the Chair shall appoint a nominating committee consisting of five (5) members, one of whom shall be a past chair of the Ohio Judicial Conference who shall chair the Committee, which shall nominate one or more persons as candidates for the various elective offices of the Conference, except that there shall be no nomination for the office of Chair unless there is a vacancy in the office of Chair-elect at the time of the meeting or if the Chair-elect declines the office of Chair.

When the report of the nominating committee is received, any active member of the Ohio Judicial Conference present may nominate from the floor any additional persons for any office, except as above stated. All officers shall be elected by written ballot except in cases where there is only one candidate for a particular office in which event such candidate may be elected by viva voce vote.

The Chair-elect shall automatically succeed to the office of Chair at the end of the term as Chair-elect and shall thereupon serve as Chair for one full term.

Section 4. Vacancies.

When there is a vacancy in the office of Chair, the Chair-elect shall automatically succeed to that office and the office of Chair-elect shall become vacant, but such succession shall not bar such person from serving a subsequent full term as Chair.

Vacancies in other offices shall be filled by the Executive Committee.

Section 5. Duties.

The principal duties of the several general officers of the Ohio Judicial Conference shall be as follows:

A. Chair

The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the Judicial Conference, the Executive Committee, and Judicial Conference Officers. The Chair shall, subject to the control of the Executive Committee, be the Chief Executive Officer of the Ohio Judicial Conference and have general charge and supervision of the administration of its affairs and business. The Chair shall see that all orders and resolutions of the Executive Committee and the Ohio Judicial Conference are carried into effect. The Chair shall perform such other duties as are generally prescribed by parliamentary practices and such as may be assigned from time to time by the Executive Committee.

B. Chair-elect

The Chair-elect shall perform such duties as may be delegated from time to time by the Chair of the Ohio Judicial Conference. The Chair-elect shall discharge the duties of the Chair in the event of the Chair's absence or disability for any cause whatsoever and shall perform such additional duties as may be prescribed from time to time by the Executive Committee. In addition, the Chair-elect shall serve as chair of the Judicial Conference Personnel and Office Administration Committee.

C. First Vice-Chair

The First Vice-Chair shall perform such duties as may be delegated from time to time by the Chair of the Ohio Judicial Conference. The First Vice-Chair shall discharge the duties of the Chair and/or Chair-elect in the event of their absence or disability for any cause whatsoever and shall perform such additional duties as may be prescribed from time to time by the Executive Committee. In addition, the First Vice-Chair shall serve as parliamentarian and shall employ generally prescribed parliamentary practices.

D. Second Vice-Chair

The Second Vice-Chair shall discharge the duties of the Chair, Chair-elect, and/or the First Vice-Chair in the event of their absence or disability for any cause whatsoever and shall perform such additional duties as may be delegated from time to time by the person or persons superior in office or as may be prescribed from time to time by the Executive Committee. In addition, the second Vice-Chair shall serve as chair of the Judicial Conference Education Committee.

E. Immediate Past Chair 

The Immediate Past Chair shall serve as Chair of the Nominating Committee and shall perform such additional duties as may be agreed upon.

F. Executive Director.

The Conference Officers shall appoint by a majority vote, an Executive Director of the Ohio Judicial Conference who shall be the chief administrative officer of the Conference and shall manage the ongoing operation of the Conference, its offices, employees and funds. The Executive Director shall perform such other duties as prescribed by the Conference Chair, the Executive Committee, and the Constitution. In addition, the Executive Director shall be the Secretary/Treasurer of the conference. As Treasurer, the Executive Director shall be authorized to accept and expend Ohio Judicial Conference funds and shall keep account of all money, credits and property of the Ohio Judicial Conference. The Executive Director shall keep an accurate account of all monies collected, distributed and disbursed and shall provide a financial report at each meeting of the Executive Committee and to Judicial Conference Officers upon request.

G. Bond

The Executive Director and any assistant authorized to manage funds of the Conference shall be bonded with approved sureties in an amount set by the Executive Committee or as otherwise set by law. Any blanket bond provided by the State of Ohio shall satisfy this requirement.

 

ARTICLE V. — COMMITTEES

Section 1. Committees.

A. Standing Committees

The Chair with the approval of the Executive Committee shall appoint and fill vacancies in the following Standing Committees:

1.   Appellate Law and Procedure 
2.   Civil Law & Procedure 
3.   Community Corrections
4.   Court Administration  
5.   Court Technology 
6.   Criminal Law & Procedure 
7.   Domestic Relations Law & Procedure 
8.   Executive 
9.   Judicial Compensation & Benefits
10. Judicial Education
11. Judicial Ethics & Professionalism
12. Jury Instructions 
13. Jury Service 
14. Juvenile Law & Procedure 
15. Legislative 
16. Magistrates
17. Personnel & Office Administration
18. Probate Law & Procedure 
19. Public Confidence & Community Outreach 
20. Publications 
21. Retired Judges 
22. Specialized Dockets
23. Traffic Law and Procedure

B. Duties of Standing Committees

Each committee shall meet at least once a year and shall conduct its work at such times and in such manner as arranged by its Co-Chairs. Committee Co-Chairs may appoint such sub-committees as they deem necessary and appoint or arrange for a secretary who need not be a member of the Conference. A Committee Co-Chair or a designee shall also serve as a liaison member to the appropriate committee of the Ohio State Bar Association.

The committee shall consist of any number considered appropriate by the Conference Chair and shall include members from courts actively concerned with the purpose of such committee whenever possible. The Committee Co-Chairs may also appoint Ohio licensed attorneys, faculty members of recognized Ohio law schools, and magistrates of Ohio courts as non-voting associate committee members if such persons’ experience or expertise would assist the committee.

The Committee Co-Chairs shall be designated in the appointment by the Chair of the Ohio Judicial Conference and shall serve a term of two years beginning on January 1 following the election of a new Chair and shall serve on the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference.

C. Ad Hoc Committees

The Chair, with the approval of the Executive Committee, shall appoint and fill ad hoc committees as may be deemed necessary by the Chair. The Committee Co-Chairs shall be designated in the appointment by the Chair of the Ohio Judicial Conference and shall serve as required to complete the task assigned.

D. Budget-Finance Committee

There shall be a Budget-Finance Committee consisting of the Judicial Conference officers. It will recommend Conference fiscal policy to the Executive Committee and establish those recommendations approved. The Budget-Finance Committee may approve purchases and the reimbursement of expenses in accordance with guidelines approved by the Executive Committee.

 

ARTICLE VI. — ACTIVITIES

Section 1. Activities.

The work of the Ohio Judicial Conference shall be conducted by the active member judicial associations and by standing and ad hoc committees appointed by the Chair with the approval of the Executive Committee. Reports and recommendations of the active member judicial associations and of each committee shall be submitted in writing to the Executive Director of the Conference or before August 1 of each even-numbered year for inclusion in the biennial Judicial Conference Report to the Ohio Judiciary. 

 

ARTICLE VII. — AMENDMENTS

Section 1. Amendments.

Any Conference member may propose to amend this Constitution by submitting the proposed amendment in writing to the Executive Committee prior to the first meeting of the Committee in any year. If the proposed amendment is approved by a majority of the Committee then present, it shall be submitted in a form approved by the Committee to the Annual Meeting of the Ohio Judicial Conference. The Executive Director shall publish the proposed amendment by sending it either electronically or by mail, to each Conference member at least 30 days prior to the Annual Meeting and by publishing the proposed amendment in “For the Record”. If approved by a majority vote of the members present at the Annual Meeting it shall be adopted.