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COURT
PROCESSES

Juvenile Court Process


Legal steps for Juvenile Court

  1. Offense Committed
  2. Police Investigation
  3. Petition filed in Juvenile Court or Possible Diversion
    Allows the juvenile to follow special conditions instead of officially filing delinquency charges in juvenile court. If the diversion program is successfully completed, the juvenile has no record of delinquency. Only certain charges qualify for diversion.
  4. Pre-hearing
    Alleged juvenile offender is informed of charges (at detention hearing if confined) and a plea of admission or denial is entered.
  5. Bind Over Hearing
    In serious felonies, a bind over hearing may be held to see if the juvenile should be tried as an adult.
  6. Pre-Trial
    The prosecutor may allow the alleged juvenile offender to admit to reduced or negotiated charges (plea bargaining).
  7. Contested Hearing (Trial)
    Occurs if no plea agreement is reached. Both sides of the case, defense and prosecution, are presented. Juvenile is found delinquent by the judge (never by a jury), or case is dismissed.
  8. Disposition (Sentencing)
    Hearing to determine what would most help a youth who is found delinquent. May include restitution for victim losses, restraining order, curfews, community service, probation, house arrest, commitment to treatment/rehabilitation.
What to expect in juvenile court
Juveniles are treated differently than adults when they break the law. The intent of the juvenile justice process is to individually treat (rehabilitate) children and to allow them, at age 18, to have a fresh start from the mistakes of youth.

Juvenile proceedings are closed to the public.




Misdemeanor Court Process


1. Crime reporter Victim or witness reports crime, or law enforcement observes crime. ​​ 2. Law enforcement makes arrest

  • Victim meets with prosecutor to file charges
  • Prosecutor determines whether there is enough evidence to file charges/to prosecute. A warning letter to the alleged perpetrator could be sent, instead of filing charges. There is also a possibility that the case could be set for mediation. If the offender is charged, a summons or warrant will be issued.
  • A summons requires the accused to appear in court. A warrant requires the arrest of the accused. Law enforcement serves warrants and summons.
​​ 3. Arraignment
  • Usually within 72 of arrest. Defendant informed of charges; attorney obtained, plea entered, and bond set. If someone fails to appear when summoned, the judge could issue a warrant
  • Possible Pleas are:

  • Guilty—admits crime was committed
  • Not Guilty—denies charges and case continues to next hearing
  • No Contest—Defendant does not admit nor deny the charge and lets the Judge determine guilt or innocence based on the facts. Most offenders are found guilty by the court
4. Pre-Trial (Plea Bargaining)
Motions filed and/or plea agreement reached. In a plea bargain the prosecutor allows the defendant to plead guilty to the orginal charge or a reduced or different charges. Reasons to plea bargain for the prosecution include:
  • avoid the time, delay and expense of trial and/or
  • Lack of evidence to clearly prove the charge. A plea of guilty to a lesser charge insures that the defendant will at least get some criminal record and sentence. The reasons to plea bargain for the defendant is to accept guilt on a lesser charge instead of the possibility of being found guilty on more serious charges, and/or avoid the time and expense of a trial.
5. Trial
Trial by Jury or Judge occurs if no plea agreement is reached. Must be found guilty BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT by every juror or the judge.
6. Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI)
These are not always done. Input and opinion of victim(s) considered along with background of offender and facts in the case to determine sentence for specific charge within limits established by law. These investigations are typically done by a probation officer.
7. Sentencing
The punishment imposed by the court.
Misdemeanor Degree/ Maximum Penalties

Degree Time in Jail Fine 1st (M1) 6 months $1,000 2nd (M2) 90 days 750
3rd (M3) 60 days 500
4th (M4) 30 days 250
Minor Misdemeanor(MM) No jail 100


Misdemeanors
Arraignment —1 week
Pretrial—1-2 weeks
Trial *
Sentencing

*Victim may testify
Time Within Which Hearing Must Be Held for Misdemeanors

Trial for minor misdemeanor:
  • If offender is out on bail, the trial must be within 15 days
  • If offender is incarcerated, the trial must be held within 5 days
Trial for 3rd and 4th degree misdemeanor:
  • If offender is out on bail, the trial must be within 45 days
  • If offender is incarcerated, the trial must be held within 15 days
Trial for 1st and 2nd degree misdemeanor:
  • If offender is out on bail, the trial must be within 90 days
  • If offender is incarcerated, the trial must be held within 30 days




Felony Court Process


* Victim/Witness May Testify
Common Pleas Court

Legal steps for Felony charges:

  1. Crime Reported
  2. County Court Arraignment
    Usually within 72 hours of arrest. Defendant informed of charges; attorney obtained, plea entered, and bond set.
  3. Preliminary Hearing
    Within 10 days of arrest (15 days if out on bond). Purpose is to determine whether there is PROBABLE CAUSE to believe a crime was committed and if this defendant probably committed that crime. If so, defendant is bound over to Grand Jury.
  4. Grand Jury
    Within 60 days of preliminary hearing. Evidence is reviewed to determine which charges, if any, to prosecute. Prosecutor is present with the witness before the Grand Jury — no defendant, defense attorney, or judge.
  5. Common Pleas Court Arraignment
    Usually within 10 days of Grand Jury indictment a plea is entered, bond re-examined, and pre-trial conference time set.
  6. Pre-Trial Motions filed and/or plea agreement reached.
    In a plea bargain the prosecutor allows the defendant to plead guilty to reduced or different charges. Reasons to plea bargain for the prosecution include:
    Avoid the time, delay and expense of a trial and/or ​​​​​
    Lack of evidence to clearly prove the charge A plea of guilty to a lesser charge insures the prosecutor that the defendant will at least get some criminal record and sentence. The reasons to plea bargain for the defendant are to accept guilt on a lesser charge and receive a lighter sentence, instead of the possibility of being found guilty on more serious charges, and/or avoid the time and expense of a trial.
  7. Trial Occurs if no plea agreement is reached.
    Must be found guilty BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT by every juror or the judge.
  8. Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI)
    Input and opinion of victim(s) considered along with background of offender and facts in the case to determine sentence for specific charge within limits established by law.
  9. Sentencing
    The punishment imposed by the court.

Felony Degree/Maximum Penalties Degree/Time in Jail/Fine:
  • 1st / 3-10 years / $20,000
  • 2nd / 2-8 years / $15,000
  • 3rd / 1-5 years / $10,000
  • 4th / 6-18 months / $5,000
  • 5th / 6-12 months / $2,500

Usual Time Lapse Between Hearings
  • Arraingment: 3-7 days (average)
  • Preliminary hearing*: 4-6 weeks
  • Grand Jury hearing*: 3 days
  • Common Pleas Arraignment Sentencing
  • Pre-trial: 4-6 weeks
  • Trial*: 4-6 weeks
  • Sentencing
* Victim may testify
Ohio's Victims Rights' Law - For Felonies
For victims of all property and violent felony crimes
(Effective July 1, 1996. Laws and their interpretation may change.)

Notification Rights
  • Of Arrest, defendant name, charge, and case number
  • Of eligibility for release hearings and releases
  • To talk to prosecutor before plea bargain (when practical)
  • (Upon request) Of date, time and place of all hearings and results, convictions and dismissals, sentence, appeals and early release hearings and results.
  • Victims may choose someone else to get these notices, or not to receive notices.
  • Other rights, services, incarceration information.
Victim Impact Statements
Victims may make a statement to the judge about physical and emotional harm, property losses, and opinions for a pre-sentence investigation, at sentencing, and early release hearing.

Be Present
Victims may attend any hearing the defendant is present, unless judge rules exclusion of the victim is necessary to guarantee a fair trial. If practical, court must provide a separate waiting area for victim.

Confidentiality Prosecutor may motion for the court to suppress victim or witness identifying information if there is fear from threats or violence. The court may suppress victim information from files, except when determining the crime location, and seal the transcript for hearing.
Employee Protections
Employers cannot punish victims for missing work because of time spent preparing for or attending hearings at the prosecutor's request or by subpoena.

Property Return
Law enforcement must promptly return victim's property unless it is illegal, ownership is disputed, prosecutor certifies it must be kept instead of photographed or the judge promptly rules the property must be held as evidence.

Support Person
At victim's request, the judge must permit a support person to accompany the victim unless the judge rules this will cause an unfair trial for the defendant.

Speedy Prosecution
If practical, prosecutor must inform victim of possible delays. If victim objects, the prosecutor must inform the judge and the judge must consider the victim's concerns before approving delays.

Protection
  • Temporary Protection Orders may be requested at arraignment, and be in effect until sentencing.
  • "No contact" with victim may be made a condition of bond and probation.
  • Civil Protection Orders and Temporary Custody may be requested through Domestic Relations Court.
  • Victim should contact law enforcement if threatened.

Getting Money Back
  • Compensation — A state of Ohio program to pay violent crime victims' medical bills, lost wages, counseling, deductibles, prescriptions, etc. Crime Victim Services has applications, call Columbus at 1-800-824-8263, or visit the website.
  • Restitution – The criminal may be ordered to pay the victim back for damages or expense




Ohio Appeal Court Process


Ohio Appeal Court Process

An appeal is a proceeding in which a court reviews or retries a judgement that has been determined by another court.

All cases, except non-moving traffic violations, can be appealed.

During the appeals process, victims are not permitted to address the court.

A defendant's appeal is begun by the filing of a notice of appeal with the clerk of the trial court. A notice of appeal in criminal/civil cases must be filed within thirty (30) days of the judgement or order that is being appealed.

Appeals by the prosecution are also subject to the thirty (30) day limit; except when the appeal is from a order granting a defense motion to suppress evidence or return property. Then the time limit is reduced to seven (7) days from the date of entry into the official court record.

A motion for a new trial because of newly discovered evidence does not extend the time for appealing a judgement.

In civil and criminal cases, the thirty(30) day time limit begins from the entry of an order granting or denying the new motion.

The Court of Appeals cannot reduce or extend the time for filing a notice of appeal.

A notice of appeal must:

  • Specify the party making the appeal;
  • Identify the judgement, order or part of the record from which the appeal comes;
  • Include the name of the court from which the appeal comes.
  • The clerk of the trial court must serve a copy of the notice, plus a copy of the docketing statement to all parties, by mail at the last known address.

If an appeal is filed on time, the court of appeals has discretion to allow amendments to the appeal.

There is no limit specified for bringing a delayed appeal, i.e., newly found evidence. The defendant in a criminal case may appeal by leave of the court of appeals.

The government, in a criminal case, may appeal certain orders as a right, and most others by leave of court order under ORC 2945.67. The government is not permitted to file a late appeal.

A case may be assigned to the accelerated calendar if:
  • No transcript is required.
  • Transcript is short and preparation will not cause delay.
  • An agreed statement is submitted in lieu of a record.
  • The record was made in an administrative hearing and filed with the trial court.
  • All parties approve assignment to the accelerated calendar.
  • Local rule designates the particular type of case for the accelerated calendar.
  • In an accelerated case the time for transmitting the record to the appellate court is cut from forty (40) to twenty (20) days. The time for filing briefs by the appellant and appellee is reduced from twenty (20) to fifteen (15) days.

A case may be transferred from the accelerated calendar to the regular calendar for good cause.

Source: Ohio Appellate Practice 1994-95; Judge Alba L. Whiteside; Banks-Baldwin Law Publishing Company; pgs. 51-59.

In appellate proceedings, no witnesses are called and there is no jury. Judges review the transcripts of the trial, read the lawyers' briefs and listen to oral arguments.

Only a small percentage of guilty findings are reversed.

Nearly ¾ of the trials end in guilty verdicts. Virtually all are appealed.

After sentencing, the convicted person can appeal to a higher court. The state cannot appeal if the accused is acquitted by the jury.

The appellate court can agree with the decision of the lower court, order the lower court to review its decision or order the defendant to be released.

Source: Criminal Justice, Vol. 7. 364-973 CR 1

Find addresses and specific more specific information on the Ohio Courts of Appeals website.





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