Legislative Platform

The Ohio Judicial Conference, established in 1963, is a statutory agency within the judicial branch of Ohio government charged with the responsibility to engage all 722 Ohio judges in the process of ensuring the equal and efficient administration of justice throughout the state. Each Ohio judge is a member of the Judicial Conference and more than two hundred local judges serve with dedication on Judicial Conference committees. The following legislative initiatives were adopted by the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference and are submitted as part of our overall report required under R.C. 105.95. The Ohio Judicial Conference looks forward to working with the General assembly to develop legislation in the important areas outlined herein. If you are interested in sponsoring a Platform initiative, contact the Ohio Judicial Conference.

 

Judicial Impact Statement

Civil Law Tort Reform. Changes should be made to the Civil Rules concerning proportionality in pre-trial procedure and discovery.  Recommendations from the Civil Law Tort Reform Task Force may be used as a guide.

Court Administration

Judicial Impact Statement

Court Reporting and Transcripts.  Make changes to 2301.18-2301.26 such that they are consistent with current practices and can accommodate future technological changes in court reporting.

Judicial Impact Statement

Judicial Authority to Operate the Court, Hiring Decisions, and Compensate Court Personnel.  Repeal portions of 307.01, 2101.11 and 2151.10, consistent with court rulings declaring changes to these sections to be an unconstitutional expansion of the powers of local funding authorities over court budgets, and modify 1901.31, 1901.33, 1901.331, 1901.36, 1907.20, and 1907.201 to ensure that all judges, regardless of whether in the municipal, county or common pleas courts, have the statutory power to hire and compensate court personnel.

Judicial Impact Statement

Exempting Judges’ Addresses from County Auditors’ Databases, RC 319.28.

Judicial Impact Statement

Segregation of Funds Collected by Courts.  Enact legislation to direct state and county auditors to keep all monies collected by a court segregated in a separate account from the general revenue fund at the state, county and local level.

Community Corrections

Judicial Impact Statement

Jail Cap, R.C. 2929.16. Under R.C. 2929.16(A)(2), a violation of a community control sanction should include a 6-month cap, equivalent to the other penalties in that section.  This change clarifies that a new violation during community control can lead to a jail penalty, even if the original time sentenced has already been served.

Judicial Impact Statement

Removing One-Year Minimum, R.C. 2929.13. At R.C. 2929.13(B)(1)(a), the statute currently requires a judge to sentence an offender to a community control sanction for at least one year.

Civil Law

Judicial Impact Statement

Determination of Indigency in Civil Filings. The determination of indigency in civil filings needs to be modernized and made uniform (R.C. 1901.26, 1907.24, 2323.30, 2323.31, 2323.311, 2746.001).

Criminal/Sentencing

Judicial Impact Statement

Criminal Code, Traffic/DUI Law, and Drug Law Simplification.  Work with the Criminal Sentencing Commission, the Criminal Justice Recodification Commission, and other interested parties in the criminal justice system to revise and simplify Title 29, Title 39 (Drug Laws), and Title 45 (Traffic Laws/OVI LAW).

Judicial Impact Statement

F4/F5 45-day Offender Placement Language.  Make changes to R.C. §§ 2929.13(B)(1)(b) and 2929.13(B)(1)(c) to remove all of the language creating and explaining the procedures regarding placement of offenders where the court has determined that a community control sanction would not adequately punish the offender and protect the public. This would involve removing 2929.13(B)(1)(b)(iv) and modifying 2929.13(B)(1)(c) to read in its entirety,  “(c) The court that is sentencing an offender who is convicted of or pleads guilty to a felony of the fourth or fifth degree that is not an offense of violence believes that no community control sanctions are available for its use that, if imposed on the offender, will adequately fulfill the overriding principles and purposes of sentencing.” 

Judicial Impact Statement

State v. Bodyke (2010). Develop changes consistent with the State v. Bodyke ruling by eliminating R.C. §§ 2950.031 and 2950.032.

Judicial Impact Statement

Re-Offender Sentencing. Unless the journal entry provides otherwise, a sentence imposed pursuant to R.C. § 2929.141 (Person On Release Committing a Felony) shall be served before any other sentence, including specifications. Various specifications (such as gun specifications) state that the sentence shall be served consecutively and prior to the underlying sentence, but no such direction is given regarding post-release control.

Judicial Impact Statement

Sec. 2929.19(B)(2)(f). Sections 341.26, 753.33, and 5120.63 lay out the authority of county and municipal jails and the ODRC to conduct random drug testing of inmates.  Sec. 2929.19(B)(2)(f) needlessly duplicates these sections and requires a sentencing judge to inform an offender about the prohibition against using drugs.  When a judge has overlooked this requirement, almost all appeals have found it to be harmless error, but the appeals are nonetheless unnecessary and costly.  Sec. 2929.19(B)(2)(f) should be deleted.

Judicial Impact Statement

State v. Nucklos (2009). To change the definition of “affirmative defense” to correspond with recent case law.

Domestic Relations Law

Judicial Impact Statement

Public Pension Reform and Marital Property. Seek changes to Title 31 to clarify that Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) funds constitute marital property, to clarify that certain post divorce and post-dissolution disability benefits are marital property, to codify the Cosby v. Cosby ruling regarding pre-retirement rights of survivorship, and to require the state retirement systems to automatically implement court division of property orders.

Judicial Impact Statement

Parenting Time Enforcement.   Create a procedural mechanism as an alternative to a motion for contempt that would permit a parent to file a motion for parenting time enforcement.

Judicial Impact Statement

Parental Duty of Support—Age Limit and School Enrollment.  Clarify current law regarding a court’s authority to continue a child support order beyond age 18 if, among other things, the child continuously attends a recognized and accredited high school on a full-time basis on and after the child’s eighteenth birthday; permit the court to continue child support if the child is attending an “alternative” type high school such as an internet based high school because there is a question as to whether this constitutes “full time.” Amend R.C. § 3119.86 to establish a statutory requirement to extend child support through age 19 if the child is in high school.

Judicial Impact Statement

Unemployment of Child Support Obligor.  To develop an automatic adjustment of a child support obligation when the obligor goes on unemployment.

Judicial Impact Statement

Social Security Benefits.  To clarify that receipt of social security benefits does not require the judge to find a person legally disabled in domestic relations court.

Judicial Impact Statement

Permissive Appointment of Use of Private Judge. To make R.C. § 2701.10 permissive in terms of the judge making a referral for adjudication of civil actions or proceedings to a private judge if the parties have agreed to utilize a private judge.

Judicial Impact Statement

 

 

Juvenile Law

Judicial Impact Statement

Planned Permanent Living Arrangements (PPLA).  Amend R.C. §§ 2151.353 and 2151.415 to permit juvenile courts to order PPLA if not requested by children services agencies in response to In re A.B., 2006.

Judicial Impact Statement

Juvenile Justice Reform-Fixes.  Seek changes to the O.R.C. to address issues that have arisen as a result of implementing the juvenile justice reform provisions of House Bill 86.

Judicial Impact Statement

Court Costs in Transferred Cases.  To clarify the law that levying a cost in a case when the juvenile is transferred does not automatically create a final disposition of the case.

Judicial Impact Statement

Domestic Relations/Juvenile Jurisdiction Transfer. Sections 2151.23, 2151.231, and 2301.03 and Chapter 3105 should be amended to grant Ohio courts with domestic relations jurisdiction authority to hear and determine child support and child custody cases in which the child’s parents are still married but living separately and enable juvenile courts to certify certain cases to the division of the court with domestic relations jurisdiction.

Probate Law

Judicial Impact Statement

Structured Settlements.  The structured settlement statute should be modernized to provide better standards for approval of transfers of structured settlements (R.C. 2323.58 et seq.).

Judicial Impact Statement

Land Sale Provisions.  Under RC 2127.011, the heirs of a decedent’s estate may consent to a sale if the consents are filed with the probate court, as long as none of the heirs is a minor.  A change to RC 2127.012 would allow the option of selling real estate from the guardianship estate by filing the same type of consents as in a decedent’s estate, in other words if all interested parties provide written consent and the sale price is at least 80% of a recent, appraised value (R.C. 2127.10). 

Judicial Impact Statement

Trust to Age 25 in Minor Settlements. This would mirror the authority the court has in wrongful death proceedings where a minor is the beneficiary. R.C. 2125.03

Specialized Dockets

Judicial Impact Statement

“Safe Harbor” Provision for Trafficked Juveniles.  Currently, the law allows a charge against a juvenile to be held in abeyance if the juvenile is a victim of human trafficking and the juvenile is undergoing treatment.  The law allows only a 90-day time frame for the abeyance, with the possibility of 2 extensions of 90 days each.  This time frame should be extended considerably or be left open-ended to allow for the extensive treatment necessary for a trafficked juvenile.

Traffic

Judicial Impact Statement

Criminal Code, Traffic/DUI Law, and Drug Law Simplification.  Work with the Criminal Sentencing Commission, the Criminal Justice Recodification Commission, and other interested parties in the criminal justice system to revise and simplify Title 29, Title 39 (Drug Laws), and Title 45 (Traffic Laws/OVI LAW).

Judicial Impact Statement

Definition of Drug Abuse.  Review R.C. §§ 4511.19, 3719.011, and 4511.181 and clarify references to “drugs of abuse,” “harmful intoxicants,” and “dangerous drugs,” especially with regard to the establishment of impairment in OVI cases.

Judicial Impact Statement

OVI/Traffic law corrections. F3 OVI sentencing clarification, extending “driving in emergency” affirmative defense to omitted offenses, correct enhanced penalty for certain speeding violations based on prior charges.

Judicial Impact Statement

Driving under suspension language correction. Include “or whose privilege to obtain a license has been suspended” in all DUS-related offenses. Possibly can merge this with preceding recommendation.

Judicial Impact Statement

Limited driving privileges for child-support suspensions. Create additional mechanism allowing person under child-support suspension to seek limited driving privileges. 

Judicial Impact Statement

Proof of insurance – time of vehicle registration. Require proof of insurance be shown when renewing/obtaining vehicle registration.

Judicial Impact Statement

Electronic Insurance Verification.  The Department of Public Safety Financial Responsibility Study Committee report, most recently published in 2014, recommends eliminating the financial responsibility random verification.  Because insurance verification has such a tremendous impact on the caseload of a municipal court, the Traffic Law and Procedure Committee supports a real-time, electronic insurance verification method. (See 130 HB 71 and 130 HB 278)