Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ohio Supreme Court Specialized Docket Certification Procedure

In his Annual State of the Judiciary Address, three years ago, former Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer reported that "from the inception of Ohio's first drug court in Hamilton County in 1995, the use of specialized dockets in Ohio has been broadened to address such issues as mental illness, domestic violence and re-entry courts. Today, 129 specialized dockets are used by courts ranging from Common Pleas, Juvenile, Municipal and County Courts." (Chief Justice Moyer's speech)

Since the establishment of the Hamilton County Drug Court, Ohio has been recognized as a national leader in the implementation of specialized dockets. In 2001, the Supreme Court created the
Specialized Dockets Section to assist and support local courts in developing specialized programs uniquely tailored to helping specific populations within the court system. In 2009, the Court created a 15-member advisory board charged with advancing the goals of Ohio's specialized dockets program. (announcement). Two years later it promulgated Rule 36.02 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio, consisting of 12 standards intended to create a minimum level of uniform practices yet still allow courts to tailor operations to meet their individual needs. Some of the standards require courts to engage in a planning process, use a non-adversarial approach, hold regular treatment team meetings, and conduct regular status review hearings. (announcement). Today, there are nearly 150 specialized dockets operating in Ohio including drug courts, mental health courts, re-entry courts, OVI courts, veterans courts, sex offender courts, felony non-support courts and domestic violence courts.

Last year the Supreme Court adopted
rules that require specialized docket programs to be certified and meet minimum standards by January 1, 2013.

Last Friday, the Court announced it was accepting public comment on amendments outlining the procedures for receiving Supreme Court certification for a specialized docket program.(
announcement). Under the proposed amendments, courts operating specialized dockets would be required to submit an application, undergo a site visit and submit specific program materials to the Specialized Docket Section as part of the certification process.

Comments on the proposed amendments should be submitted in writing before August 7 to:

Melissa Knopp, Specialized Dockets section manager
Supreme Court of Ohio
65 S. Front St., Sixth Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Or via e-mail to Melissa.Knopp@sc.ohio.gov

Text of Proposed Amendments.

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