Friday, July 14, 2006

Ohio "private judges"

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that “private judges” can only preside over bench trials, and that there are no provisions for their hearing jury trials. They are afforded facilities, staff, and equipment at the discretion of the individual courts if the parties involved assume such costs.

“In matters referred to private judges pursuant to ORC § 2701.10 and Gov.Jud.R. VI, the court in which the action or proceeding is pending,” the Court’s syllabus said, “is not required to provide the retired judge with court or other facilities, equipment, or personnel, but may in its discretion do so if the parties assume the responsibility and pay for all costs arising out of the provision of the facilities, equipment, and personnel.”

ORC § 2701.10(D) specifies, the Court continued, “’[a] retired judge to whom a referral is made under this section shall try all of the issues on the action or proceeding, shall prepare relevant findings of fact & conclusions of law, and shall enter a judgment in the action or proceeding in the same manner as if he were an active judge of court.’”

(Court’s opinion summary)

(See Ohio Supreme Court’s “Guidelines for assignment of judges”)

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