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FAIRFIELD COUNTY MUNICIPAL COURT
104 East Main Street · Post Office Box 2390 · Lancaster Ohio 43130-5390

Sherry L. Eckman
Clerk of Court

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FAIRFIELD COUNTY
MUNICIPAL COURT

CIVIL – CRIMINAL RULES

DAVID A. TRIMMER
PATRICK N. HARRIS
Judges

ADOPTED
APRIL 18, 2005

 

INDEX

CIVIL RULES

  1.00    SCOPE AND EFFECTIVE DATE
  2.00    COURT SESSIONS
  3.00    OFFICER MAY NOT PREPARE PAPERS OR CHARGE FOR NOTARY SERVICE
  4.00    FORM OF PAPERS FILED WITH THE COURT
  4.01    IDENTIFICATION
  4.02    COPIES OF DOCUMENTS
  4.03    FAILURE TO COMPLY
  5.00    APPEARANCE CALL
  6.00    SUBPOENAS FOR WITNESSES
  7.00    DEMAND AND DEPOSIT FOR JURY
  8.00    PRETRIAL PROCEDURE
  9.00    REQUEST FOR CONTINUANCE
10.00    MOTIONS
11.00    DECISIONS AND ENTRIES
12.00    COSTS
13.00    TRIAL ATTORNEY
14.00    RECORDING OF PROCEEDINGS AND COSTS
15.00    MEDIATION

CRIMINAL RULES

  1.00    SCOPE AND EFFECTIVE DATE
  2.00    CRIMINAL PROCEDURE - GENERAL
  3.00    CRIMINAL ACTION FILING
  4.00    BAILIFF
  5.00    ARRAIGNMENTS
  6.00    WITHDRAWAL OF CHARGES
  7.00    BAIL
  8.00    JURY
  8.01    JURY COSTS
  9.00    MOTIONS
10.00    PRETRIAL PROCEDURE
11.00    APPEALS
12.00    MEDIATION
13.00    PROBATION FEES
14.00    ASSIGNMENT OF CASES

MISCELLANEOUS

1.0    ADOPTION OF CERTAIN PLANS BY REFERENCE

a.         Case management plan

b.        Jury management plan

c.         Facsimile Filing Rule

 

 

CIVIL RULES

1.00 SCOPE AND EFFECTIVE DATE

These rules are adopted as Local Rules of the Court governing practice and procedure in the Civil Division of the Fairfield County Municipal Court. They are adopted pursuant to the court’s inherent authority as reserved in Rule 83, Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure. These rules may be cited as "MC Civ. R._________." They are effective as of April 18, 2005, and govern all proceedings filed subsequent to that date and proceedings pending on that date except to the extent that such application would not be feasible or would work an injustice.

2.00 COURT SESSIONS

The hours for court sessions are eight o’clock a.m. until twelve o’clock noon and from one o’clock p.m. until four o’clock p.m. unless otherwise ordered by the judge presiding at the session. Sessions will be held on Monday through Friday except on any day designated by law or proclamation of the President of the United States or the Governor of this State as a national or state holiday, on which holidays the court will be closed. The court will also close on such other times and dates as may be prescribed by the Presiding Judge.

3.00 OFFICER MAY NOT PREPARE PAPERS OR CHARGE FOR NOTARY SERVICE

Officers or employees of this court shall not prepare or help prepare any pleading, affidavit, entry, or order in any civil matter, except as provided under Section 1925.04, Ohio Revised Code. No fee shall be charged by any officer or employee of this court for notarizing affidavits or any other matter pertinent to the civil business of this court.

4.00 FORM OF PAPERS FILED WITH THE COURT

All papers offered for filing with the court shall be typewritten or printed on 8 ½ by 11 inch bond paper without backing. Original documents attached or offered as exhibits and official court forms supplied by the Clerk are exempt from the requirements of this rule.

4.01 IDENTIFICATION

All papers offered for filing with the court shall be identified by including:

1.        The name of the assigned judge immediately below the case number, if the case has been assigned to a judge pursuant to the Rules of Superintendence;

2.        A title containing the name and party designation of the party filing it and the nature of the document (e.g. Defendant John Doe’s Answer); and

3.        The typed name, Supreme Court Identification Number, office address, and office telephone, facsimile number of the designated trial attorney.

4.02 COPIES OF DOCUMENTS

Only legible copies of documents may be attached to pleadings or motions.

4.03 FAILURE TO COMPLY

The court may order stricken any filed paper which does not comply with Rule 4.00 through 4.02.

5.00 APPEARANCE CALL

Appearance Call will be held at one o’clock p. m. each Tuesday, as practicable, for first appearance in actions in forcible detainer, all proceedings to enforce the collections of judgments, objections to applications for the appointment of a trustee under Section 2329.70, Ohio Revised Code, and actions in Replevin where possession of property is sought prior to trial on the merits. Actions on the Appearance Call docket for Replevin or claims in forcible entry and detainer for restitution in which the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney does not appear may be dismissed without prejudice.

6.00 SUBPOENAS FOR WITNESSES

The return for subpoenas of witnesses shall be filed with the clerk before the date of trial. The failure of a witness to appear for whom the return was not filed in accordance with this rule will not be grounds for a continuance of the case.

7.00 DEMAND AND DEPOSIT FOR JURY

Request for trial by jury shall be made in accordance with Civil Rule 38. A party requesting a jury trial shall pay a deposit for the jury, as security for costs; unless an affidavit of hardship, approved by the Court, is filed in lieu of the deposit. The failure of a party demanding a jury to comply with any of the provisions of this rule shall constitute a waiver of the jury, and the matter shall be submitted to and be decided by the court.

8.00 PRETRIAL PROCEDURE

Pretrial conference(s) and telephone conference(s) may be ordered by the judge to whom a civil case is assigned. Upon notice of the scheduling of a pretrial conference, it shall be the duty of counsel to contact each other, make a sincere effort to dispose of the matter by settlement, and agree on any matters of evidence about which there is no genuine dispute. Prior to the date of the pretrial conference, counsel shall exchange reports of expert witnesses expected to be called by each party, as well as medical reports and hospital records of such are involved.

Failure of counsel to be prepared for pretrial conference may result in dismissal of the case for want of prosecution or in a default judgment of such other action to enforce compliance as the trial judge deems appropriate. It shall be the duty of counsel to do the following at the pretrial hearing:

1.        The counsel who will be trial counsel and who is fully authorized to act and negotiate on behalf of the party must be present and must proffer in writing a statement indicating the status of settlement negotiations.

2.        All parties in interest must be present at the pretrial unless such presence is excused by the trial judge.

3.        Each counsel shall present to the court in writing a statement of the issues involved, the matters stipulated, and the questions of law which are to be resolved by trial.

4.        Each counsel shall bring to the pretrial all exhibits, if practicable, which are expected to be offered in evidence at the trial.

5.        Each counsel shall present in writing to the court an itemization of all special damages claimed, if any.

6.        Each counsel shall present to the court in writing a statement indicating the names of all witnesses, both expert and non-expert, expected to be called at the trial; whether a view will be requested; whether a jury trial, if previously demanded, will now be waived, and if not, the number jurors demanded; and whether the case is one where the issue of damages should be tried separately if liability is found.

7.        Each counsel shall come to the pretrial fully prepared and authorized to negotiate toward settlement of the case.

8.        Each counsel shall give his best estimate of the time required to try the case.

All written statements shall be filed at or before the pretrial hearing.

Each counsel shall provide in writing the text of, and citations of authority for, any instructions requested at least ten (10) days before the date of the jury trial.

9.00 REQUEST FOR CONTINUANCE

Every request for a continuance shall be by written motion, unless made on the record in open court. The motion shall set forth the date from which a continuance is requested and the reasons for continuance.

Attorneys submitting motions for continuance shall accompany them with an entry providing blanks for the new trial or hearing time, date, and courtroom along with an indication that the requested continuance has been approved or disapproved by opposing counsel.

This rule does not restrict the assigned judge’s exercise of discretion in granting or denying continuances.

10.00 MOTIONS

Any motions other than for continuance under Rule 9.00 shall be accompanied by a memorandum indicating the questions and authorities in support thereof; absent such a memorandum, motion shall be stricken from the files.

Opposing memoranda shall be filed not later than seven days from the service of the motion or on the day prior to the trial or hearing on the motion, which ever is earlier, or at such other time as set by the assigned judge. Motions shall be ruled upon on or after the opposing memoranda are filed or the time for filing expires, whichever is earlier.

Assignment of any motion for oral hearing shall be at the discretion of the court. Failure of counsel to appear for an oral hearing may be deemed an abandonment of the motion.

11.00 DECISIONS AND ENTRIES

The Court, in its discretion, may order proposed findings of facts and conclusions of law either before or after a trial or hearing. The failure of any party to comply with the Court’s order may result in a dismissal of the case for want of prosecution or a default judgment.

Entries on decisions other than on the merits will be prepared and filed by the court unless otherwise ordered.

1.        Counsel for the prevailing party shall prepare a judgment entry within five (5) days of an order of the court and submit the same to counsel for the adverse party, who shall approve or reject the entry within five (5) days. If opposing counsel fails to return the entry within five (5) days, it shall be submitted to the trial judge, who shall approve the entry in the form he considers proper.

2.        No entry shall be accepted for filing unless signed by a judge.

3.        Nothing in this Rule precludes the assigned judge from preparing and filing a judgment entry sua sponte.

4.        An entry shall be drawn in language that is appropriate to the specific case in which it is to be filed.

 

12.00 COSTS

Fees and costs shall be as prescribed by the Court by Court order.

On motion of the opposing party or at the request of the officer of the court, and if satisfied that the deposit specified is insufficient, the court may require said deposit to be increased from time to time so as to secure all costs that may accrue in the cause. If such security is not given after reasonable notice the court may dismiss the action, if before judgment, or may dismiss the proceeding, if after judgment.

All costs and deposits shall be delivered to and disbursed by the clerk.

13.00 TRIAL ATTORNEY

All documents filed on behalf of one or more parties represented by counsel shall be signed by one attorney in his individual name as trial attorney. All notices and communications from the court and all documents required to be served will be sent to the designated trial attorney. No attorney who has entered his or her appearance in a case may withdraw as trial attorney except upon written motion for good cause shown and after notice to the client.

14.00 RECORDING OF PROCEEDINGS AND COSTS

Pursuant to Rule 8 (a) of the Rules of Superintendence for Municipal and County Courts, the official method for recording court proceedings shall be by audio-electronic recording devices.

Either party to the cause of action may request the court proceedings be recorded by stenographic means if the court has received written notice of the request at least three (3) days prior to the hearing. The cost for such stenographic recording shall be borne by the requesting party. The requesting party shall also be responsible for the attendance of a qualified stenographer. Any party requesting transcript of any recorded hearing shall bear the cost of said transcript except as otherwise ordered by the court.

15.00 MEDIATION

A. Pre -filing mediation by Court’s mediator

1.        Availability. The pre-filing mediation program shall be open to all persons seeking to resolve disputes within the jurisdiction of the Court. Pre-filing mediation will normally be scheduled for Thursday afternoons

2.        Procedure. If a person desires to submit the dispute to mediation the Court Administrator will provide an intake form to be filled out by the claimant. The Court’s mediator will schedule the matter for mediation and notify the claimant and the respondent by first class mail of the scheduled date and time for the mediation. The mediator will note on a form provided by the Court whether the parties appeared for mediation and whether the mediation resulted in settlement of the matters in dispute. The mediator will maintain the confidentially of any confidential information disclosed to the mediator by any party to the extent provided in R. C. 2317.023. Ev. R. 408 shall apply to the mediation proceedings. "Bad check" and "money due on an account" cases shall be submitted to mediation prior to filing criminal or civil charges.

3.        Mediators. The Court has contracted with an individual to administrate its mediation program and to provide mediation services. The mediator shall have the qualifications set forth in Rule B.3 below. The parties in the pre-filing program shall not be charged for the mediator’s services.

 

 

B. Post-filing mediation

1.        By agreement. Civil cases other than small claims cases may be submitted to mediation at any time upon agreement by all parties provided that court approval shall be required if the proposed mediation would take place after pretrial. Mediation of all small claims cases must be completed prior to the scheduled hearing; continuances will seldom be granted for purposes of mediation. The parties may select any person as mediator, and shall compensate such person upon such basis as the parties and the mediator may agree.

2.        By order of the Court. A judge of the Court may order any civil action to mediation upon motion of any party or upon the Court’s own motion. Any party may propose a civil case for mediation by filing a request to all other parties or their counsel. Any party so notified may, within five days after receiving such notice, object to mediation by filing a statement setting forth the basis for objecting with the Court with copies to the other parties or their counsel. The Court shall set the matter for non-oral hearing and make such orders as the Court may deem appropriate. Mediation shall take place within thirty days if no objections are filed or within thirty days after mediation is ordered by the Court at such time and place as the parties may agree, or the Court shall order.

3.        Mediators. The Court will choose a mediator who meets the qualifications set forth in this rule. Mediators may list an hourly fee for this services and shall be paid such fee for their services unless agreed otherwise with the parties. Each party shall pay a proportionate share of the fee, unless agreed otherwise between the parties or otherwise ordered by the Court. Persons who meet one or more of the following criteria are eligible to serve as a post-filing mediator: (1) Persons who have successfully completed 16 hours of mediation training given under a Court sponsored program or by a recognized agency. (2) Attorneys admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Ohio who have received Settlement Week mediation training sponsored by an Ohio court or equivalent training or experience. (3) Persons whose experience, education , or training qualifies them, in the judgment of Court, to serve as mediators. The Court shall take such steps as it may deem appropriate to ensure an equitable distribution of assignments in the current year. A mediator shall maintain impartiality and avoid any appearance of favoring any party. A mediator shall not serve in any matter in which the mediator or any close relation has an interest that may be affected by the mediation, provided that the mediator may serve with the consent of all parties after full disclosure.

4.        Procedure. (a) All parties shall appear or be represented by persons with authority to make decisions. Where insurance is involved a party may be represented by an insurance company representative with appropriate authority. Failure to appear at a scheduled mediation without reasonable cause will be grounds for assessing the costs and expenses of the other parties and the mediator’s fee against the defaulting parties. Failure to appear at a court ordered mediation may result in a dismissal of an action for want of prosecution or a default judgment by the Court. If the mediation results in settlement of the case, counsel shall submit an appropriate entry to the Court. If the mediation does not result in a settlement, the mediator shall promptly notify the Court.

 

CRIMINAL RULES

1.00 SCOPE AND EFFECTIVE DATE

These rules are adopted as Local Rules of Court governing practice and procedure in the Criminal Division of the Fairfield County Municipal Court. They are adopted pursuant to the court’s inherent authority as reserved in Rule 57, Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure. These rules may be cited as "MC Cr. R. ___________." They are effective as of April 18, 2005, and govern all proceedings filed subsequent to that date and proceedings pending on that date except to the extent that such application would not be feasible or would work an injustice.

 

2.00 CRIMINAL PROCEDURE - GENERAL

All Rules set forth above with reference to Civil proceedings shall, where applicable, be enforced in Criminal Proceedings before this court. In addition thereto, the following Rules shall prevail.

3.00 CRIMINAL ACTION FILING

No criminal charges shall be filed by a private individual until they are first reviewed and approved by a prosecutor operating within the jurisdictional limitations of this Court.

4.00 BAILIFF

A Bailiff shall formally open sessions in the Traffic and Criminal Court and shall enforce and maintain order.

5.00 ARRAIGNMENTS

In all DUI cases and cases involving allegations of violence a defendant shall personally appear at their scheduled arraignment date for purposes of entering a plea and establishing bond. In all other cases, a written not guilty plea will be accepted and the defendant will be released without bond, unless the Court determines that a bond is appropriate under the circumstances.

6.00 WITHDRAWAL OF CHARGES

All recommendations for withdrawal, reduction, amendment or dismissal of charges and the reasons herefore shall be made in open court by the prosecuting attorney, and/or shall be specifically set forth in writing and placed in the case file. No such modification shall be permitted without the express consent of the judge presiding over the case.

7.00 BAIL

The Court shall establish a bail and bond schedule.  The Court, at arraignment or at some other time during the pendency of a case, may modify a defendant’s bond.

8.00 JURY

Demand for a jury must be filed at least ten (10) days prior to trial date, or on or before the third day following receipt of notice of the date set for trial, whichever is later. Failure to demand a jury trial as provided in this subdivision is a complete waiver of the right thereto.

8.01 JURY COSTS

In order to minimize the inconvenience to prospective jurors and to promote judicial economy, the full costs of the jury will normally be assessed to the defendant, if the jury is waived and jurors have already been called to appear in Court.  Such assessment shall occur unless otherwise directed by the judge presiding over said trial. No deposit for criminal jury trial is required. Jury costs shall be computed at the rate of $12.50 per prospective juror who appears on the trial date regardless of whether or not the prospective juror(s) are sworn in. A prospective juror shall be deemed to have begun service upon reporting to the clerk of court for jury service.  All defendants pleading to any charge on the date of the jury trial when the case is scheduled for jury trial, or defendants who waive a jury trial on the date of the scheduled jury trial, shall be deemed to accept jury fees.  Any defendant refusing to accept jury fees shall not have their right to a jury trial waived and shall proceed with the jury trial.

9.00 MOTIONS

All motions shall set forth clearly and specifically the grounds for such motions, along with supporting citations. In Motions to Suppress, the items of evidence in question shall be specified. Any motions filed which are not in compliance with this Rule shall be summarily overruled.

All motions requiring Oral Hearing should be set, if scheduling permits, within fifteen (15) days of the date such filing is made and it shall be the responsibility of each party to secure the attendance of all witnesses necessary to establish the party’s position.

10.0 PRETRIAL PROCEDURE

After entering a plea of not guilty to a criminal or traffic offense, the court, in its discretion may set a pretrial conference. When a pretrial conference is ordered, the following persons are required to attend: the prosecutor, the state’s representative, defendant, and defendant’s trial counsel. It is the duty of the trial counsel to enforce the appearance of the defendant. Failure of the defendant to appear at a pretrial may be deemed by the court to be a violation of defendant’s bond.

Both the prosecutor and the defendant and defendant’s attorney should complete discovery prior to the pretrial.

Upon conclusion of a pretrial conference, the prosecutor therein involved shall complete the appropriate form indicating the name of the defendant, the case number, the type(s) of offenses charged, the defense attorney’s name if any, and the proposed settlement agreement. This settlement shall be signed by the prosecutor and the defendant’s attorney. The completed pretrial form shall be attached to the case file.  Any alleged victims to a case should also sign the pretrial conference sheet either to acquiesce to the prosecutor’s recommendation or to state that they are not in agreement with that recommendation.

The above pretrial procedure does not restrict or prevent the assigned Judge of any criminal or traffic case from conducting additional pretrial conferences. No provision of this rule shall be construed to limit or otherwise modify the requirements and procedures prescribed by Rule 16 of the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure.  Pretrial conference recommendations are only prosecutor recommendations and the Court reserves the right to sentence a defendant in a manner not consistent with such recommendation.

11.0 APPEALS

In all cases appealed, both the State and the defendant shall furnish the Court with a time -stamped copy of their briefs filed in the appellate proceedings within five (5) days of the filing of the same in the appellate court.

12.00 MEDIATION

"Bad Check" charges shall be submitted to mediation prior to filing criminal charges. See MEDIATION provision in the Court’s local civil rules.

13.00 PROBATION FEES

As a general rule, all defendants who are placed on probation shall be required to pay a probation fee. The Fairfield County Municipal Court Probation Fee form, which outlines the fee schedule, may be obtained at the Clerk of Court’s office.  For those individuals who are indigent and incapable of paying the probation fee, a community service option has been made available.  See Probation Fee/Community Service Request Form also located at the Clerk of Court’s Office.

14.00 ASSIGNMENT OF CASES

A.  Assignment – Criminal cases shall be assigned to each of the municipal court judges in an alternating fashion.  The name of the assigned trial judge shall be placed in the file.

B.  Re-indicted cases – If a case has been terminated by nolle prosequi or other form of dismissal, the re-indicted case shall contain the following designation under the case number:  “This is Reindicted Case #, Previously Assigned to Judge. . .”.  Additionally, the original case number shall appear under the above designation.  The trial judge to whom the case was previously assigned shall be reassigned to the re-indicted case.  If a re-indicted case is not assigned to the previously assigned trial judge, the Assignment Commissioner shall transfer the re-indicted case to that trial judge.

C.  Assignment of Cases with Multiple Co-Defendants – All co-defendants charged in a multiple defendant case(s) shall be assigned to the same trial judge.  Any subsequent arraignments of other co-defendants shall be assigned to the same trial judge if scheduling permits.  If a subsequently arraigned co-defendant is not assigned to the same trial judge, and the case(s) involving the co-defendant(s) are still pending, the Assignment Commissioner shall transfer the case to the originally assigned trial judge.

D.  Assignment of Cases of Defendants with Active Probation Cases – If a probationer is charged on a new case, the new case shall be assigned to the trial judge who placed the defendant on probation or community control.  If the defendant/probationer is not assigned to the trial judge who placed the defendant on probation or community control, the Assignment Commissioner shall transfer the new case to the appropriate trial judge.

E.  Assignment of Cases when the Defendant has Pending Cases – If a defendant is arraigned on a new case and the defendant has pending case(s) assigned to a trial judge, the new case shall be assigned to that trial judge.  In the event that the defendant is a co-defendant in the new case, the new case shall be assigned to the trial judge previously assigned the case(s) of the other co-defendants.

F.  Priority of Assignments – In the event that a case is subject to more than one assignment category, the following assignment priority applies:

                1.  Re-indicted cases;

                2.  Co-defendant cases;

                3.  Pending cases; and

                4.  Active probation cases.

G.  Removal of a Trial Judge from the Random Draw – If a transfer is made to a judge pursuant to MC Cr. R. 14, that trial judge shall be removed from the rotation for new criminal cases for one assignment cycle.

MISCELLANEOUS

The Court has previously adopted the following plans mandated by the Superintendence Rules:

1.        Case Management Plan (see Sup. R. 5(B)(1));

2.        Jury Management Plan (see Sup. R 5(B)(2));

3.        Facsimile Filing Rule (see Sup. R 5).

All these Plans which have been previously adopted are incorporated herein by reference.

 

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