Monday, December 08, 2008

County Budget: More Revenue?

In doing some research on the appropriate geographical reach of jury pools in municipal court cases, I came across Ohio Revised Code 1901.25, which requires that when a misdemeanor case arises under a municipal ordinance and proceeds to jury trial, the juror fees are to be paid by the relevant municipality. (Most criminal cases--particularly those tried to a jury--allege a violation of Ohio Revised Code rather than municipal ordinance.)

The obvious example is jury trials involving Cincinnati's marijuana law. But any case transferred from a mayor's court to municipal court would fit this description (unless the municipal prosecutor amends the charge to allege violation of the Revised Code). I tried one such case (successfully!), involving an alleged assault that took place in Norwood, last year. The police charged the offense under Norwood's municipal code. We filed a jury demand, which has the effect of automatically transferring the case from Mayor's Court to Municipal Court. For those wondering, the HamCo Prosecutor does not proceed on these cases: instead, the local municipality will have a law director that comes to Muni Court and tries the case. (Cincinnati, of course, has several full-time prosecutors that prosecute all misdemeanor offenses that are alleged to have taken place within City limits, regardless of whether the complaint alleges a violation of municipal or state law. And in some instances, a HamCo Assistant Prosecutor is the elected Law Director of a particular municipality.)

Obviously, this doesn't involve a ton of money, but we're at the point where every little bit counts. Does anyone know whether our court is recovering these fees from municipalities (including the City of Cincinnati) in appropriate cases? I couldn't find the answer online anywhere.

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