May 18, 2011
Kathleen M. Sasala, Esq., Librarian

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The Ohio Supreme Court provides a lot of information on its website, which can be located at the following link: www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/ You may already know how to use this website to find cases or information on Ohio attorneys, but there is much more there for the asking. Today, we will try to cover the most important information that you can find at the Ohio Supreme Court’s website.

Information about the Supreme Court Justices

Information about the Supreme Court

    A bar on the left-hand side of the Ohio Supreme Court’s website labeled “About the Supreme Court” provides information on all of its divisions, including, but not limited to:

      • The Clerk of Court
      • Bar Admissions
      • Reporter (of decisions)
      • Law Library
      • Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline

    This same link provides information on the Court’s jurisdiction and authority, history (including an interactive timeline and a list of all prior justices), and contact information for both the Court and the Ohio Judicial Center in which the Court is located.

Information on the Ohio Judicial Structure

    The Ohio Supreme Court’s website provides general information on all of the courts in Ohio from the Ohio Supreme Court through Mayor’s Courts.

    This information is paired with a hierarchical chart of Ohio courts.

    A link devoted to the Ohio Courts of Appeal provides a color-coded inter-active map, as well as individual court links to information on all of Ohio’s 12 appellate districts. This information includes the counties each appeals court covers, contact information, a list of each court’s judges, and online links to each court’s website, opinions and local rules. Some of the links also provide weekly dockets and special court pamphlets.

Information for and about Judges

    The Ohio Supreme Court’s website also provides information on judges, including:

      • judicial education
      • a search engine for finding assigned judges by assignment number, year, name of the judge, case number or requesting court
      • a summary on Affidavits of Disqualification
      • information on judicial discipline, including the grievance process
      • online links to the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct and the Ohio Rules for the Government of the Judiciary
      • salary information for all Ohio justices and judges
      • information for judicial candidates, including Conduct and Finance Rules, advisory opinions, complaints, and the judicial oath of office
      • miscellaneous other information

Supreme Court Case Docket

    The Ohio Supreme Court provides a searchable database of Supreme Court cases filed in the Court on or after January 1, 1985, as well as attorney discipline cases filed in the Court on or after January 1, 1989. Searches can be conducted by case number, party name, prior case information, attorney in the case, and other information, including case year, case type (select up to 3), date range filed, or case status.
    www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/Clerk/ecms/searchbycaseinfo.asp (Other search)

Court Opinions from the Ohio Supreme Court and the Ohio Courts of Appeals

    The Ohio Supreme Court provides online access to its opinions back to 1992. The Court also provides access to opinions from the 12 Ohio appeals courts, at least back to 2001. Although the Eighth District Court of Appeals opinions are only available back to 2000, some COA opinions go back as far as 1991. All documents are archived as pdf (“portable document format”) files.

    Once you reach this web page, you can browse opinions by date decided and posted. More importantly, you can use the Court’s template to find opinions by Source (i.e., court or all courts), Date Decided, or WebCite No. The Website No. Is the Court’s own citation format that contains the year decided, followed by the word Ohio and a unique number (e.g., 2010-Ohio-2072). It is similar to an electronic citation to a case from Lexis or Westlaw. To search by WebCite No., remember to use the dashes in between the year and the unique number assigned to the case. It will not retrieve any results if you do not use them. Please do not confuse this unique number with the docket number of the case. They are entirely different.

    If you would like to search for cases by topic or subject, you can use the handy Full Text search box that the Supreme Court has provided. Although you can type a WebCite No. in this field, it is better used to search by issues or legal facts in the case. The Full Text search permits the use of the Boolean operators AND or OR, as well as the proximity operator NEAR. It also supports the use of quote marks around exact search phrases. You can also combine Boolean operators with phrases in quotes, or nest searches using parentheses. Finally, as with more sophisticated search engines, the Supreme Court’s Full Text query allows for the use of an asterisk (*) as a Wildcard to replace a character or characters at the end of an individual search term. If you forget any of these search techniques, you can click on the Question Mark (?) next to the search boxes for an explanation and ‘cheat sheet.’

    When you input your search criteria and hit the Submit button, search results will appear below the search box, with an indication of how many results have been found. If you would like to see more results per page, there is a blue, drop-down arrow to the right of the Submit button that will allow you to review up to 100 hits per page at a time. If you want to review an opinion, simply click the hyperlink for the case name to open the opinion as a pdf document. From there, you can save print or save the file to your computer for use later.

    If you would like to streamline review of multiple search results, you can refine your searches by using the filters in the search box on the right hand side of the Court’s search page. Specifically, you can limit the data that will display to Case Name, Case No., Topics/Issues, Author (i.e., Judge(s)), County, Citation, Decided Date, Posted Date, or WebCite. Restricting by Topics/Issues can really help you to find cases that are relevant to your research.

    The Ohio Supreme Court’s Advanced Web Search (bit.ly/jV3vo2) provides a search template where you can fill in the blanks to search for opinions using the following fields:

      • with all of the words
      • with the exact phrase
      • with at least one of the words
      • without the words

    You might want to search without certain words when your searches are returning false hits that are irrelevant to the issues or facts in your case. The Advanced Web Search also provides another plus because it allows you to rank your results by relevance or date, thus allowing you to alternatively find the most significant or newest cases, depending on the need of your legal research project.

Court Opinions from the Ohio Court of Claims

    The Ohio Supreme Court’s website provides access to opinions from the Ohio Court of Claims back to 1992.

Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

    The Ohio Supreme Court provides a separate page where you can review new opinion summaries. The Court’s archive currently goes back to 2002. You can sign up to receive email updates or RSS feeds when new summaries are issued.

Supreme Court Oral Argument Calendar

Supreme Court Oral Argument Previews

    The Ohio Supreme Court’s Office of Public Information posts informal previews of upcoming oral arguments to “provide the news media and other interested persons with a brief overview of the legal issues and arguments advanced by the parties.” These previews are not part of the case file or considered by the Court. You can sign up to receive email updates or RSS feeds when new summaries are issued.

Supreme Court Oral Argument Videos

Supreme Court Oral Argument Audios

Media Library

    The Ohio Supreme Court also provides a link to its online Media Library, where you can search for oral arguments, roundtable discussions with justices, preview clips, and other videos. You can either conduct a full-text search or browse by year.

Case Activity Notification

    The Ohio Supreme Court provides a mechanism for attorneys and members of the public to sign up for notification when documents are filed in cases before the court. This is a good way to track cases that are important to your clients or will address issues important to your practice.

News and Case Announcements

Court Rules

    The Ohio Supreme Court’s website is a gateway to various rules of court, including:

      • Ohio Rules of Appellate Procedure
      • Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure
      • Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure
      • Ohio Rules of Evidence
      • Ohio Rules of Juvenile Procedure
      • Ohio Traffic Rules
      • Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio
      • Various ethics rules (see infra)
      • Supreme Court Rules of Practice

Proposed Rule Amendments

Ohio Trial Court Websites & Local Rules

Attorney Information

Ohio Ethics Rules

Standard Probate Forms

Uniform Domestic Relations Forms

    Last year, the Ohio Supreme Court approved five (5) uniform domestic relations forms and posted them to the Court’s website. These forms include:

      • Affidavit of Income and Expenses
      • Affidavit of Poverty
      • Parenting Proceeding Affidavit
      • Health Insurance Affidavit
      • Motion and Affidavit or Counter Affidavit for Temporary Orders Without Oral Hearing

Grievance and Disciplinary Information

    The Ohio Supreme Court’s website provides a huge amount of grievance and disciplinary information, including, but not limited to:

      • information from the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline
      • a flowchart of the disciplinary process, as well as applicable rules
      • a schedule of the next month’s cases with an option to receive email updates or RSS feeds
      • information on filing a complaint against a lawyer or judge
      • information and forms related to the grievance process
      • Ethics Advisory Opinions
      • information, final reports, and settlement agreements from the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law

Law Library

Supreme Court Advisory Committees, Commissions and Task Forces

Rules for the Reporting of Opinions and Manuals of Citation

    The Ohio Supreme Court’s website provides access to the rules that the court uses to report opinions, as well as the rules it requires lawyers and pro se litigants to use when citing opinions.

Information on Case Mediation

Information on Services to Ohio Courts

    As the highest court in Ohio, the Ohio Supreme Court is poised to provide various services to lower Ohio courts. The Court’s website provides information on all of these services.

Supreme Court Case Statistics

    The Ohio Supreme Court posts statistics on the number and types of cases that have been filed, the number of pending cases, and the number and type of case dispositions.

Career Opportunities

Links to Ohio Laws

    The Ohio Supreme Court’s website provides links to:

      • The U.S. Constitution
      • The Ohio Constitution
      • The Ohio Revised Code
      • The Ohio Administrative Code

Law-Related Links

    The Ohio Supreme Court’s website also provides links to other courts and law related institutions in Ohio, including:

      • The Ohio Court of Claims
      • Federal and Ohio governmental websites
      • Ohio’s law schools
      • National, state, county and metropolitan bar associations
      • National and state Court Personnel Associations such as the Ohio Clerk of Courts Assoc.
      • Miscellaneous law-related associations
      • The Ohio Save the Dream program

General Search of Supreme Court’s Website

    If you cannot find what you are looking for at the Ohio Supreme Court’s website, the Court provides a full-text search to help you.