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.



2023-2024 Ohio Judicial Conference Legislative Platform

The Ohio Judicial Conference works to encourage legislation that supports several core principles. The Ohio Judiciary is a co-equal branch of Government that, under the Constitution, cannot be marginalized by the Executive or Legislative branches. The Ohio Revised Code should be as easy as possible for a layperson to understand and should not contain pro- visions which have not withstood constitutional scrutiny. The fair administration of justice requires appropriate funding for quality defense of indigent defendants.


Criminal Law and Community Corrections:

RC 2929.15 Sentencing Caps. The 90- and 180-day sanctions caps in RC 2929.15, in many cases, undermine the purpose of probation.

Judicial Release. The various forms of early release from prison should be streamlined and simplified so that rather than having many early release mechanisms that are confusing and rarely used, the Code has few early release mechanisms that are consistently used.

Criminal Code, Traffic/DUI Law, and Drug Law Simplification. Title 29, Title 39 (Drug Laws), and Title 45 (Traffic Laws/DUI Law) should be revised and simplified.

State v. Nucklos (2009). The definition of “affirmative defense” should be changed to correspond with re- cent case law.

Violations of Temporary Protection Orders.  If a person is previously convicted of domestic violence or any other of the delineated offenses in the Revised Code that would escalate a subsequent domestic violence charge to a felony, and if a person in that category is accused of a violation of a protection order, then that violation should be considered an F5. Persons with a history of domestic violence or related convictions are a significant safety risk to a person protected under an order.

Interference with Custody. RC 2919.23 defines the crime of interference with custody. Penalties for the crime are spelled out in subsection (D), and the current language makes the crime more serious “[i]f the child who is the subject of the violation … is removed from the state.” However, “removed from the state” has resulted in ambiguity in cases and should be clarified to say “is removed from Ohio to another state,” or “is taken across state lines,” or “is taken from any state in the United States to a different state.”


Juvenile Justice:

Juvenile Justice Reform. Reform last drafted as 134 HB 500 (and previously in 132 HB 394) should be adopted.  It includes altering mandatory bindover for juveniles to adult court. Judicial Impact Statement

Court Costs in Transferred Cases. Levying a cost in a case when the juvenile is transferred should not automatically create a final disposition of the case.


Family Law:

Parenting Time Enforcement. A procedural mechanism is necessary to permit a parent to file a motion for parenting time enforcement, as an alternative to a motion for contempt.  Judicial Impact Statement

Parental Duty of Support-Age Limit and School Enrollment. A court should have the 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.  Judicial Impact Statement


Traffic and OVI Law:

Review and Modernization of License Suspensions and Reinstatement Fees. Unnecessary or ineffective suspensions should be removed from Title 45; reinstatement fees should be uniform – not vary based on reason for suspension; barriers to legal driving privileges should be removed, including for child support suspensions. Language prohibiting driving under suspension of a license should include the language “or whose privilege to obtain a license has been suspended.”  Judicial Impact Statement

Insurance Verification Modernization. The Department of Public Safety Financial Responsibility Study Committee report (2014) recommends eliminating random verification of financial responsibility. Insurance verification has a tremendous impact on the municipal court caseload and real-time electronic insurance verification method should be implemented. Proof of insurance should also be required upon renewing or obtaining vehicle registration.  Judicial Impact Statement

US/Canada Reciprocity. The Ohio BMV should be authorized to enter into an agreement with Canada or the province of Ontario for the purposes of reciprocal enforcement of traffic violation sanctions.  Judicial Impact Statement


Probate Law:

Probate Modernization. There is a need in many counties for additional mental health professionals to have the authority to testify for involuntary commitment and continued commitment hearings.  Judicial Impact Statement

Guardianship Modernization. To modernize Chapter 2111 of the Revised Code and Sup.R.66 to make them consistent with current guardianship needs and to allow for the appointment of appropriate non-profit corporations to serve as guardians. See 134 HB 488 and 134 SB 199.


Court Administration:

Municipal Court Funding and Revenue. RC 1901.31(C)(1) provides that the salary of certain municipal court clerks is set by either the court or the local legislative authority, depending upon whether the court brings in enough revenue to pay for itself. The court should set the salary of its clerk, and the salary and who sets it should not be dependent upon the court’s revenue. Retired judges filling in for municipal court judges should be able to more easily complete paperwork for compensation and the county should be collecting the reimbursement from the Supreme Court.

Uniform Computerization Fees. The 129th GA passed an increase in computerization fees for Common Pleas General Division only. Similar provisions in other sections regarding other court jurisdictions should be increased as well.  Judicial Impact Statement

Sealing and Expungement of Records. A provision in the Ohio Revised Code allowing courts to retain portion of fees for application to seal or expunge records is needed. Under existing law, any money collected must be turned over to the state and to the local funding authority. As the legislature expands access to sealing, courts are left to process more applications, with no additional revenue retained by the court to offset the additional work.

Private Information of Public Servants. HB 341 of the 132nd General Assembly added judges and magistrates to the list of “designated public service workers” whose personal information is not subject to disclosure under public records law.  Because judges and prosecutors are elected officials whose addresses must be verified, their addresses remain available for public viewing. To ensure the safety of members of the judiciary, this loophole needs to be corrected so that judges’ addresses remain entirely confidential. A process can be created whereby residency can be challenged (and verified) without the information being publicly available.

Appointment of Counsel. RC 305.14 should be modified to allow common pleas and county court judges the ability to employ legal counsel of their choosing in any matter of public business coming before the court or in the prosecution or defense of any action or proceeding in which the judge or other court official is a party or has an interest in an official capacity. RC 309.09 should allow the judge to set the amount of compensation for legal service by order and also allow the judge discretion to have the compensation be paid from the county general fund or from another court fund. The hourly compensation for legal services should not exceed the highest hourly compensation paid by the board of county commissioners for an attorney to represent the board or other county officials. These provisions would balance the separation of powers between the branches of government to allow a court to obtain fair representation by an attorney of their choosing.

Authorizing Use of Technology. Many provisions in statute govern the way certain court proceedings, such as international commercial arbitration, are to take place (e.g. in person, in open court, by video, by telephone, etc.). During lockdown and throughout the pandemic, these provisions were reviewed to determine which could be modernized.


Appellate Law:

Appellate Review of Felony Sentencing. Appellate judges have long struggled with how to review lengthy sentences imposed consecutively for felony offenses, as the “contrary to law” standard in existing law in not defined and has been interpreted inconsistently. A working group of appellate judges have drafted a proposal that provides that individual or concurrent sentences within a range are appealable on the grounds that the sentencing judge abused his or her discretion; that consecutive sentences are presumed valid if the total sentence length is below a certain threshold; and that consecutive sentences above that threshold are presumed invalid, but may be upheld if the record supports their imposition.