COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
BROWN COUNTY, OHIO
Effective October 1, 2020
Val E. Lewis, II, JUDGE
510 East State Street
Georgetown, Ohio 45121
Conduct and operations in the Court of Common Pleas, Brown County, Ohio, Juvenile Division are governed by the Ohio Revised Code, the Rules of Superintendence of the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Ohio Rules of Juvenile Procedure, and by these Local Rules.
All persons before this Court should familiarize themselves with all applicable law.
The Brown County Juvenile Court hereby promulgates and adopts the following rules of practice pursuant to authority under Article IV, Section 5(B) of the Ohio Constitution Rule 5 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio. These rules are effective August 1, 2017 and may be amended from time to time as necessary. These rules shall be known as the Rules of Practice of the Brown County Juvenile Court and may be cited as “Bro. Juv. R. __.”
These rules are intended to provide for the management of proceedings and other functions of the Court and to supplement and complement the Ohio Rules of Juvenile Procedure, the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure, the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Ohio Rules of Evidence, the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio and controlling statutes. These rules shall be applied, construed, and enforced so as to avoid inconsistency with other rules and statutes. They shall be interpreted so as to promote just and expeditious determinations. The Judge or Magistrate presiding over a hearing may permit exception from a rule upon specific request and for good cause shown.
Failure to abide by the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure, the Ohio Rules of Juvenile Procedure, or the Rules of Practice of the Brown County Juvenile Court may result in the imposition of sanctions. Sanctions that may be imposed include but are not limited to the following:
- A case may commence without counsel, be continued, or be dismissed, as the Court deems appropriate.
- The Court may order security personnel to remove persons from the courtroom, hallway, or building.
- The Court may impose fines and/or incarceration pursuant to a finding of contempt.
- The Court may remove a person’s name from the list of those eligible for appointment as counsel or Guardian Ad Litem.
The Court facility at 510 East State Street shall be open for the general transaction of business Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., excepting legal holidays and exigent circumstances.
The Court may be in session at such other times and hours as the presiding Judge or Magistrate shall prescribe to meet the special conditions of a case. Official and unofficial sessions of Court may also conducted for selected cases in various community facilities and schools as the Court may from time to time deem appropriate.
(A) All counsel shall wear business attire when appearing before the Court. All parties and witnesses shall wear appropriate attire. Food, beverages and smoking are prohibited in the courtroom during all hearings. Smoking is prohibited throughout the Courthouse facility at all times.
(B) Cellular telephones, pagers, radios, compact disc or cassette players, headphones and any other electronic devices shall not be permitted in the Courthouse except by consent of the Court.
(C) Children are not permitted in the courtroom unless by consent of the Judge/Magistrate. Children must be supervised by an adult who is solely responsible for the child’s safety, care and behavior at all times.
(D) Hearings shall commence promptly at the designated time on the assigned date. Counsel and parties shall be present and before the Court at the assigned hearing time. If counsel is going to be late for a hearing, counsel must make a reasonable effort to notify the assigned Judge or Magistrate as soon as is practical to explain the reason for his/her tardiness.
If counsel or a party is not present in Court at the assigned time, the case may commence in the absence of counsel or a party, the case may be continued, or the case may be dismissed, as determined by the assigned Judge or Magistrate.
(A) Except as determined by the Judge, all persons entering court facilities at 510 East State Street shall pass through the metal detector or other such device. All persons entering the Court are subject to search. All packages, parcels, briefcases, bags, purses, wallets or any other containers are subject to search by security personnel.
(B) No person, with the exception of Court security or Law Enforcement personnel who are on duty and performing their assigned responsibilities, may enter or remain in the Courthouse while in the possession of a firearm or other deadly weapon. This rule is in accordance with the Ohio Supreme Court Security Standards. Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 2923.123(C)(6) this rule prohibits persons from carrying a handgun into the Courthouse even if they have a valid concealed carry permit under O.R.C. Sections 2923.125 and 2923.1213.
Any juvenile required to appear before the Court shall appear in person and be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. If a juvenile appears at Court without a parent or legal guardian, the Court may reschedule such hearing for the presence of the parent or legal guardian.
(A) Official Record. A complete record of all testimony or other oral proceeding shall be made in all official cases by means of a court reporter or an audio or audiovisual recording device provided by the Court. This record shall be the official record of the case unless a transcript is filed pursuant to division (C) of this rule.
(B) Inspection of the Audio or Audiovisual Record. Any person who is a party to a case as defined by the Juvenile Rules or that person’s attorney or Guardian Ad Litem may listen to or view the record made in a case after a request is submitted in writing and authorized. The Judge, Magistrate, Court Administrator, or Chief Deputy Clerk, may authorize such requests.
(C) Official transcripts.
Any party requesting a full or partial transcript of the record shall file a written request with the clerk. All written requests for a transcript shall contain the case number, presiding Judge or Magistrate, date of hearing, reason for the request, number of copies in addition to the original, payor of the transcript, and any other pertinent information. The Judge or Magistrate who is assigned the case may schedule a hearing or may rule on the request upon the pleadings.
No transcript will be begun or provided until satisfactory arrangements for payment have been concluded.
Cost deposits in the amount set forth in the Court’s schedule of costs, as may be periodically amended, shall be required upon the filing of any action and proceeding listed therein. The schedule of costs is available from the clerk’s office upon request.
Pleadings and other papers may be filed with the clerk of the Brown County Juvenile Court by facsimile transmission to (937) 378-6726 as provided in this rule.
- This rule applies to proceedings in the Brown County Juvenile Court.
- The following documents will not be accepted for fax filing: Original Delinquent, Unruly, Traffic, Abuse, Neglect, Dependency, Paternity, Contempt filings or any filing that requires a filing fee.
(B) Original Filing:
- A document filed by fax shall be accepted as the effective original filing. The person filing a document by fax is not required to file any source document with the clerk. The person filing the document shall maintain in his or her records and have available for production on request by the Court the source document filed by fax, with original signatures as otherwise required under the applicable rules, and the source copy of the facsimile cover sheet used for the subject filing.
- The source document filed by fax shall be maintained by the person making the filing until the case is closed and all opportunities for post judgment relief are exhausted.
(C) Definitions As used in these rules:
- “Facsimile transmission” means the transmission of a source document by a facsimile machine that encodes a document into optical or electrical signals, transmits and reconstructs the signals to print a duplicate of the source document at the receiving end. “Facsimile transmission” does not include transmission by email.
- “Facsimile machine” means a machine that can send and receive a facsimile transmission.
- “Fax” is an abbreviation for “facsimile” and refers, as indicated by the context, to facsimile transmission or to a document so transmitted.
(D) Cover Page:
The person filing a document by fax shall also include a cover page containing all of the following information:
- Name of the court;
- Title of the case;
- Case number;
- Name of the judge to whom the case is assigned , if any;
- Title and or description of the document being filed
- Date of transmission;
- Transmitting fax number;
- Indication of the number of pages included in the transmission, including the cover page;
- If a judge or case number has not been assigned, state that fact on the cover page;
- Name, address, telephone number, fax number, Supreme Court registration number, if applicable, and e-mail address of the person filing the fax document if available;
If a document is sent by fax to the clerk without the cover page information listed above, the clerk may do either of the following:
- Enter the document in the case docket and file the document;
- Deposit the document in a file of failed faxed documents with a notation of the reason for the failure.
- If the clerk acts pursuant to division (2) of this section, the document shall not be considered filed with the clerk.
A party who wishes to file a signed source document by fax shall do either of the following:
- Fax a copy of the signed source document;
- Fax a copy of the document without the signature but with the notation “/s/”followed by the name of the signing person where the signature appears in the signed source document.
A party who files a signed document by fax represents that the physically signed source document is in his or her possession or control. Any signature on electronically transmitted documents shall be considered that of the attorney or party it purports to be for all purposes. If it is established that the documents were transmitted without authority, the Court shall order the filing stricken.
- Each exhibit to a facsimile produced document that cannot be accurately transmitted via facsimile transmission for any reason shall be replaced by an insert page describing the exhibit and why it is missing. Unless the Court otherwise orders, the missing exhibit shall be filed with the Court, as a separate document, not later than five court days following the filing of the facsimile document. The Court may strike any document or exhibit, or both, if missing exhibits are not filed as required by this section.
- Any exhibit filed pursuant to Section 6.01 shall include a cover sheet containing the caption of the case that sets forth the name of the court, title of the case, the case number, name of the judge and the title of the exhibit being filed (e.g., Plaintiff Smith’s Notice of Filing Exhibit “G” to Plaintiff Smith’s Response to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss). The exhibit and cover sheet shall be signed and served in conformance with the rules governing the signing and service of pleadings in this Court.
(G) Subject to the provisions of these rules, all documents sent by fax and received by the Clerk shall be considered filed with the Clerk of Court as of the date and time automatically imprinted by the fax machine of the Clerk of Court. The fax machine will be available to receive facsimile filings on the basis of 24 hours per day seven days per week including holidays.
(H) Fax filings may not be sent directly to the Court for filing but may only be transmitted directly through the facsimile equipment operated by the Clerk of Court.
(I) The Clerk of Court may, but need not, acknowledge receipt of a facsimile transmission.
(J) The risks of transmitting a document by fax to the Clerk of Court shall be borne entirely be the sending party. Anyone using facsimile filing is urged to verify receipt of such filing by the Clerk of Court through whatever technological means are available.
Upon the written consent of a party or counsel if represented, the Court may send all hearing notices via electronic mail. Written consent shall be in a format provided by the Court.
(A) An attorney licensed to practice in Ohio shall file a notice of appearance of counsel within seven days of being retained. Said notice shall contain the attorney’s Ohio Supreme Court registration number. An entry appointing counsel shall serve as a notice of appearance of counsel.
(B) Appointment of Counsel.
Parties who are unable to retain private counsel and who wish to be represented by counsel may request counsel to be appointed. The party shall provide any and all necessary information and complete such forms as are necessary to determine eligibility. Counsel will not be appointed in matters dealing with paternity, custody or visitation.
(C) Withdrawal/Substitution of Counsel
An attorney seeking to withdraw or substitute as counsel of record shall timely file a written motion stating the grounds for withdrawing from the case; that the attorney has notified or made every possible attempt to notify the client of the intended action, the subsequent hearing dates, and the necessity of the client’s appearance at such hearings; and that the attorney has notified opposing counsel of the intended action. An attorney shall not be considered withdrawn as counsel of record unless approved by the Court in a written order. Said motion to withdraw shall be filed no later than seven days prior to the next scheduled hearing. A proposed entry substituting counsel or allowing the withdrawal of counsel shall be submitted at the time the underlying motion is filed.
(A) Photographing, broadcasting, televising, and recording by news media during courtroom sessions, including recesses between sessions shall not be permitted unless authorized by the Court. Court authorizations shall be governed by Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Superintendence Rule 11 and 12, Juv. R. 37 and Ohio Revised Code Section 2151.35.
(B) Requests for permission to photograph, broadcast, televise, or record in the courtroom shall be in writing to the Judge as far in advance as is reasonably practicable. Request forms may be obtained from the clerk of the Court. The Court shall attempt to immediately inform the attorneys for all parties in the case of the media request. If time does not permit notification by mail, then telephonic means, facsimile, or notification in person must be attempted. The intent of this Rule is to allow attorneys for all parties an opportunity to be heard prior to the Judge ruling on the media request.
(C) In the event that the Judge approves the media request, he/she shall prepare and sign an Entry setting forth the conditions of media photographing, broadcasting, televising, or recording. This Entry shall be docketed as part of the case.
(D) Proper courtroom decorum shall be maintained by all media participants, including proper attire, in a manner that reflects positively upon the journalistic profession.
(E) There shall be no audio pickup or broadcast of conferences conducted in a courtroom between counsel and clients, co-counsel, or the Judge and counsel.
(F) The Judge shall prohibit photographing or televising by any means victims of sexual assaults or undercover police officers. The Judge shall retain discretion to limit or prohibit photographing or televising any victim, witness, juror, counsel or his/her work product, upon objection.
(G) No media representative shall report the name of an accused child or otherwise identify the child or the child’s family.
(H) No media representative shall report the name of any victim if such victim is under the age of eighteen years, nor shall they otherwise indentify the victim or the victim’s family.
(I) No information shall be published relative to the child’s social history, personal or educational background, or mental or physical condition, or that of the child’s family, without prior consent by the Court.
(J) Upon the failure of any media representative to comply with the conditions prescribed by the Judge, this Rule or the Rules of Superintendence of the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Judge may revoke the permission to photograph, broadcast, televise or record the trial or hearing.
A party to a proceeding may request that a hearing or hearings be closed to members of the public, the media, or other specified persons through a written motion. Such requests shall be made as far in advance as is reasonably possible to allow the Court to conduct a hearing and rule on the request without unnecessarily delaying the proceedings.
(A) Requests for continuances shall be filed in written form with the clerk, at least seven days in advance of the hearing. Parties requesting a continuance are responsible for notifying opposing parties of their request prior to filing the request. A proposed entry granting the requested continuance shall be submitted for the Court’s consideration at the time the underlying motion is filed.
(B) All continuances are granted at the Court’s discretion, regardless of when and in what form the request for a continuance is made to the Court.
(A) In accordance with Rule 16(A) of the Ohio Rules of Juvenile Procedure, service by publication shall be made in all cases by posting and mail.
(B) Requests for service by publication shall be made as soon as is reasonably practicable. An affidavit of the party requesting service or that party’s counsel shall be filed with the court. The affidavit shall contain:
- a statement that service cannot be made because the current residence of the party to be served is unknown to the affiant AND
- a statement of all of the efforts made on behalf of the party to ascertain the residence of the party to be served, including a statement of prior unsuccessful attempts, and that the current residence of the party to be served cannot be ascertained with reasonable diligence AND
- the last known address of the party to be served.
Alternatively, the posting may be made on the website designated by the Juvenile Court clerk of courts, if available, in a section designated for such purpose.
(C) The Notice to be posted shall contain the name and address of the court, the case number, the case caption name, and the name and last known address, if any, of the person or persons whose residence is unknown. The Notice also shall contain a summary statement regarding the notice to the party whose residence is unknown and shall notify the party of a time after the publication that is set as the time to appear. The Notice shall be posted for seven (7) consecutive days. As outlined in Rule 4.4 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, or Rule 16 of the Rules of Juvenile Procedure, the service notice is to be made by posting in the following locations:
- Brown County Juvenile Court
510 East State Street
Georgetown, Ohio 45121
- Brown County Department of Job and Family Services
775 Mt. Orab Pike
Georgetown, Ohio 45121
- Mt. Orab Village Office
100 South Main Street
Mt. Orab, Ohio 45154
- Aberdeen Village Office
1142 U.S. Route 52
Aberdeen, Ohio 45101
These four locations are those designated pursuant to Rule 4.4(A)(2) of paragraph 2 of the Rules of Civil Procedure and Rule 16(A) of the Rules of Juvenile Procedure.
In all cases except abuse, neglect and dependency matters, the parties shall file a financial disclosure affidavit in the form provided by the Court at the time their Complaint or Motion is filed. The responding party shall file his/her financial disclosure affidavit at least seven days prior to the trial. Failure of any party to comply with this rule may result in dismissal of the Motion/Complaint, continuance of the hearing until the affidavit is filed, or imputation of income to the non-compliant party. The Court may utilize the filed affidavit(s) to render a decision if a party fails to appear for the scheduled trial.
A party who requests findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Rule 52 of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure shall also file, within fourteen days after filing said request with the Court, proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and submit a copy thereof to the opposing party or opposing counsel if represented. The opposing party or opposing counsel if represented then has fourteen days to submit his/her proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. Failure of any party to request or submit findings of fact and conclusions of law within said time frame shall constitute a waiver of the same.
(A) Objections to Magistrate’s Decision
A Decision of a Magistrate shall be reviewed by the Judge upon objections filed in accordance with Rule 40 of the Ohio Rules of Juvenile Procedure.
- The objections shall be accompanied by a supporting memorandum. If a finding of fact or weight of the evidence is part or wholly the basis for the objections, a transcript of the Magistrate’s hearing is necessary and must be filed by the objecting party. The objections shall state that a transcript has been ordered. In lieu of a transcript, the parties may file an agreed statement of facts.
- The objecting party shall contemporaneously file a praecipe with the Clerk of Court for a transcript. The praecipe shall be served on the Court Reporter on the same day as the filing of objections: failure to do so will cause the Court to rule on the objections as if no transcript has been ordered. Transcripts not received within thirty days from the filing of objections will not be considered, unless an extension of time to file the transcript has been requested and granted by the Court. Partial transcripts may be permitted with leave of Court. Failure to file a transcript when one is required by this Rule shall result in a dismissal of the objections.
- Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the party ordering the transcript shall be responsible for the fees associated with the filing of the transcript and shall pay said fees directly to the Court Reporter.
- If a transcript of the proceeding is required or desired, a party may request an extension of time in which to file supplemental objections. The motion for extension of time must be filed within the original fourteen day objection period, and shall, if granted, extend until fourteen days after the transcript is filed.
- Memoranda contra to objections may be filed by any party or counsel within ten days of the filing of the objections.
- Objections shall be decided upon the written memoranda, submitted transcripts and any oral hearing that may be scheduled at the discretion of the Judge. Notice of the date and time of any oral hearing will be made by the Court on all parties or their counsel and any appointed Guardian Ad Litem. Scheduled oral hearings may be waived by agreement of all parties and the Judge.
(B) Motion to Set Aside Magistrate’s Interim Order
- Magistrates may issue Interim Orders and other Orders as provided by Rule 40 of the Ohio Rules of Juvenile Procedure. Parties may file a motion to set aside the Interim Order, which shall be heard by the Judge. The motion shall be filed no later than ten days after the Magistrate’s Interim Order is filed.
- The motion shall be accompanied by a memorandum stating the party’s position with specificity. If a finding of fact or weight of the evidence is part or wholly the basis of the motion, a transcript of the hearing before the Magistrate must be filed by the moving party within thirty days after the filing of the motion, unless the judge extends the time in writing. Partial transcripts may be permitted with leave of Court. In lieu of a transcript, the parties may file an agreed statement of fact.
- Failure to file a transcript when one is required by this Rule shall result in a dismissal of the motion.
- Motions to set aside shall be decided upon the written memoranda, submitted transcripts and any oral hearing that may be scheduled at the discretion of the Judge. Notice of the date and time of any oral hearing will be made by the Court on all parties or their counsel and any appointed Guardian Ad Litem. Scheduled oral hearings may be waived by agreement of all parties and the Judge.
- Memoranda contra to a motion to set aside may be filed by any party or counsel within ten days of the filing of the motion.
A motion for attorney fees shall be included in the body of the motion or other pleading that gives rise to the request for fees, or by separate motion served on the opposing party/counsel at least seven days prior to the hearing on the motion. No oral motion for fees shall be considered, unless good cause is shown why this rule cannot be observed.
(B) Reasonable Fee
Absent formal evidence, as set forth in Section (C) herein, $500.00 shall be considered a reasonable attorney fee in contempt of court proceedings, unless otherwise determined by the Court. In determining the necessity for and the reasonableness of attorney fees, the Court may rely on its own knowledge and observations of the time and effort expended, tactics used, results obtained, discovery cooperation shown, settlement efforts made and compliance with Court orders demonstrated. The Court may also consider the amount of attorney fees the opposing party has incurred in the same matter.
(C) Evidence in Support of Motion
- At the time of the final hearing on the motion or pleading that gives rise to the request for attorney fees, the attorney shall present:
a) an itemized statement describing the services rendered, the time expended for such services, the requested hourly rate and the necessary expenses and costs for litigation;
b) testimony as to whether the case was complicated by any factor that necessitated extra time being spent on the case;
c) testimony regarding the attorney’s years in practice and experience in juvenile court cases; and
d) evidence of the defending party’s ability to pay, and of the moving party’s need for an award of attorney fees, if not otherwise disclosed during the hearing.
- Failure to comply with the provisions of this rule shall result in the denial of a request for attorney fees in excess of $500.00 in contempt of court proceedings, unless jurisdiction to determine the issue of fees is expressly reserved in any order resulting from the hearing. The Court reserves the right to award attorney fees as sanctions upon a finding that a motion was spurious; that there was undue delay in proceeding with the case, i.e. caused by a counsel’s or party’s dilatory behavior; that there was unexcused absence; or for good cause shown.
(D) Award to Party Only
Any award of attorney fees made by the Court must be entered in favor of a party litigant and not directly in favor of a party’s attorney.
- The Court shall maintain a list of attorneys willing to accept appointments for Juvenile Court The Court appointment list shall consist of the following individuals: (1) Attorneys who will represent children in delinquency, traffic and unruly cases, and indigent adults in criminal matters and contempt actions other than those specified herein; (2) Attorneys who will serve as counsel for indigent parties in abuse, neglect, and dependency cases; and (3) Attorneys who will represent children charged with a Category One or Category Two delinquency offense and in cases where relinquishment of jurisdiction for the purpose of criminal prosecution is requested.
- Attorneys desiring to be placed on any or all appointment lists shall submit a written application provided by the Court along with a certificate of good standing directed to the Chief Deputy Clerk. All attorneys appointed by the Court in unruly, truancy, violation of court order, OVI, delinquency, bindover, serious youthful offender, and appellate cases related thereto and adult criminal cases, shall meet the minimum qualifications for training and experience established by the Ohio State Public Defender in order to qualify for State reimbursement. All CLE hours must be certified by the Ohio Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education. Proof of education and training shall be submitted with the application and shall be provided annually thereafter. Failure to submit proof of continuing education and training requirements will result in the removal of the attorney from the appointment list. An attorney may request removal from the appointment list by submitting a written request directed to the Chief Deputy Clerk.
- The Court shall maintain an individual file for each appointed counsel. Attorneys will be assigned on a rotating basis from the graduated list that pairs the seriousness, complexity and type of case with the qualifications and experience of the person to be appointed. Appointments shall take into account all of the following:
- The anticipated complexity of the case in which appointment will be made;
- Any educational, mental health, language, or other challenges facing the party for whom the appointment is made;
- The relevant experience of those persons available to accept the appointment, including proficiency in a foreign language, familiarity with mental health
issues, and scientific or other evidence issues;
- The avoidance of conflicts of interest or other situations that may potentially delay timely completion of the case;
- Intangible factors, including the court or judicial officers view of a potential appointee’s commitment to providing timely, cost-effective, quality representation to each prospective client.
- The Chief Deputy Clerk will review the number of appointments for each counsel twice per year. The equitable appointment of counsel shall be determined by type of case and shall not be aggregated from all types of cases. The appointment of counsel for children in abuse, neglect and dependency cases shall be counted as only one appointment for all children of a family for purposes of determining the equal distribution of appointments.
- Rates of compensation for appointed counsel shall be as determined from time to time by the Brown County Board of County Commissioners. In addition, necessary and reasonable expenses may be allowed for such items as expert witness fees, polygraph exams, long distance telephone calls, photocopying, and certain travel expenses, so long as prior approval of the Court is obtained. The Court will not allow for any fixed office overhead expenses, Court transcripts or depositions, except as provided by law. Expenses shall be submitted within 10 days of the final disposition in the case and shall be submitted on the approved forms so that the Court and County can file a claim for state reimbursement. Failure to file the expense report within 30 days will result in no payment.
- Requests for extraordinary fees must be made by written motion and should be submitted with supporting information, including all regular billing documents. An award for extraordinary fees will be made only with the approval of the Court.
(A) The appointment, training, responsibilities and issuing of reports of Guardians Ad Litem and the responsibilities of the Court pertaining to Guardians Ad Litem shall be governed by Rule 48 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio.
(B) Pursuant to Rule 48(F) of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio, inspection of the report of the guardian ad litem shall constitute a party’s attorney or an unrepresented party being permitted to read the report and make handwritten notations on separate paper, however, the report shall not be copied whatsoever, except by Court personnel, or be removed from the Courthouse. Any copies of the report provided by the Court for the purpose of inspection shall be collected and destroyed at the conclusion of the inspection process.
(C) Rates of compensation for Guardians Ad Litem shall be as determined from time to time by the Brown County Board of County Commissioners. In addition thereto, necessary and reasonable expenses may be allowed for such items as expert witness fees, polygraph exams, long distance telephone calls, photocopying, and certain travel expenses, so long as prior approval of the Judge is obtained. The Court may not allow for any fixed office overhead expenses, Court transcripts or depositions, except as provided by law.
- Expenses shall be submitted within 10 days of the final disposition in the case and shall be submitted on the approved forms so that the Court and County can file a claim for state reimbursement. Failure to file the expense report within 30 days will result in no payment.
(D) Requests for extraordinary fees must be made by written motion and should be submitted with supporting information, including all regular billing documents, to the Court Administrator. An award for extraordinary fees will be made only with the approval of the Judge.
(E) The Court may appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to represent the best interest of minor children in any action over which this Court has jurisdiction, on the Court’s own motion or on the motion of any party. The appointment shall be made by Court order and duly docketed in the case. The Guardian Ad Litem shall represent the best interest of the child until discharged by the Court. At the conclusion of the action, the Guardian Ad Litem shall be discharged by order of the Court.
(F) All filing fees and court costs are waived as to Guardians Ad Litem.
(G) Attorneys accepting appointments to serve as Guardian Ad Litem shall personally represent the child for which he/she was appointed and shall not, absent an emergency, allow substitute counsel to represent the child. Repeated failure to personally represent the child shall result in removal from the lists set forth above.
(A) All actions concerning the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for a child shall be initiated by sworn complaint, or in preexisting cases by motion, and pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 3127.23, shall be accompanied by a Child Custody Affidavit provided by the Court, or in a format consistent therewith. At any time after filing, the Court may order the parties to mediation.
(B) Pursuant to Rule 32(D) of the Ohio Rules of Juvenile Procedure, the Court may order an investigation following the filing of a complaint requesting the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities or a writ of habeas corpus, or the filing of a motion to modify the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. Costs of the investigation will be taxed as costs to the case and are the sole responsibility of the parties. The report of the investigation shall be confidential, but shall be made available to the parties or their counsel upon written request not less than three days before hearing: the party’s attorney or an unrepresented party shall be permitted to read the report and make handwritten notations on separate paper, however, the report shall not be copied whatsoever, except by Court personnel, or be removed from the Courthouse. Any copies of the report provided by the Court for the purpose of inspection shall be collected and destroyed at the conclusion of the inspection process.
(C) The Judge or Magistrate may permit motions for temporary orders to be submitted and determined without oral hearing, upon affidavits filed in support or opposition.
(D) Any individual seeking custody of a child will be required to sign a waiver for a criminal background check and the central registry of abuse, neglect and dependency. Any costs associated with the aforementioned checks shall be the responsibility of the individual requesting a custody order.
(E) The party initiating the action shall submit the filing fee at the time of filing. If the party is indigent and unable to pay the fee, the clerk may accept the filing if accompanied by an affidavit of indigence.
Unless agreed otherwise by the parties, or the facts of a case warrant a deviation pursuant to Ohio Revised Code §3109.051(D), the Court shall adopt its Standard Parenting Time Guidelines as the Order of the Court
(A) Civil Rules Apply The Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure apply to all matters regarding the establishment of parentage and orders for and modification of child support.
(B) Commencement by Administrative Action
- Except as provided by Ohio Revised Code Section 3111.381, a person filing an action to establish parentage or child support must first request an administrative determination through a Child Support Enforcement Agency. A copy of the request for an administrative determination must be attached to the complaint or motion.
- The Child Support Enforcement Agency or a party may file with the clerk any administrative paternity determination or order for child support to which the parties do not object.
- The Court may adopt the determination or order after review without hearing. Requests for judicial review of an administrative determination or child support order will be set for hearing before a Magistrate.
(C) Actions Involving Minors
Actions for parentage, child support, and contempt for failure to pay child support in which a parent or an alleged parent is a minor require the attendance of the minor parent’s parent or legal guardian or custodian at all hearings.
(D) Genetic Testing
Advance payment for genetic testing is the responsibility of the requesting party. Repeat genetic testing may be ordered in the Court’s discretion. At the conclusion of the case, the Court may assess the costs of genetic testing against the non-prevailing party. When the Child Support Enforcement Agency has advanced the costs of genetic testing, the Court may order reimbursement by the non-prevailing party.
(E) Modification of Child Support Order
Motions for modification of a child support order shall state the specific reason for the request and attach a copy of the most recent order that the party seeks to modify.
(F) Motions to Set Aside
Motions to set aside a finding of parentage and/or an order for child support filed pursuant to Rule 60(B) of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure shall set forth the specific reasons for the requested relief and contain a copy of the order being sought to set aside.
(A) Except as otherwise provided by division (B) of this section, a juvenile cited for a traffic violation is mandated to personally appear in Court on the assigned date and time with a parent or legal guardian.
(B) A formal court appearance is not mandatory for the following offenses: Failure to wear a seatbelt; failure to display tags or expired tags; muffler violations; no headlights or taillights; window tint violations; bumper height violations; vehicle lighting violations, loud amplifier violations; other equipment violations (ORC 4513) as approved by the Court; and other violations as may be added by the Court.
(C) In cases where a mandatory court appearance is not required, the case may disposed of as follows: the juvenile and his/her parent or legal guardian must appear at Juvenile Court during regular business hours prior to the Court date listed on the traffic citation; the juvenile and his/her parent or legal guardian will enter an admission in writing to the offense charged by signing the appropriate Admission and Waiver form supplied by the Court; a fine and/or court costs will be imposed by the Court in accordance with cost schedules adopted by the Court and applicable traffic laws; the Court will not accept the admission and a Court appearance shall be required if the imposed fine and/or court costs are not paid at the time of the entry of admission.
(A) Pursuant to Juvenile Rule 9(A), if the best interests of the child and of the public require, a matter may be referred to unofficial status and the child subject to the complaint referred to diversion, in lieu of formal Court action.
(B) Unofficial cases considered by the Court shall not be subject to the other provisions of these rules.
(C) Unofficial cases shall not be part of the permanent record of the child and shall be removed from the child’s file when he/she is no longer subject to the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court.
No person, except for Court staff, shall have access to records of unofficial matters, without the consent of the Court.
(D) Cases that might otherwise qualify for diversion may remain in an official status where there are multiple offenders not all of whom are eligible for diversion or where family or other circumstances indicate that the best interests of the child and the public are not served by a referral to diversion and unofficial status.
Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 3109.042, an unmarried female who gives birth to a child is the residential parent and legal custodian of the child until a court of competent jurisdiction issues an order designating another person as the residential parent and legal custodian.
Upon proper application with the Court, an unmarried mother may be issued a custody order from the Court without a hearing.
Pursuant to Sup. R. 5, the following case management plan establishes time frames for the timely disposition of cases. The time frames include time for service. Deviation from the established time frames is permissible to assure a just result.
Delinquency, Unruly, and Traffic Cases
(A) Complaint Filed and Youth Held in Detention
- A detention hearing will be held not later than 72 hours, or the next court day, whichever is earlier, after a child is placed in detention. Either a determination to set the matter for possible relinquishment of jurisdiction or a plea to the charges will be taken at this hearing [Juv. R. 7(F)(1)].
- If the charge was filed at the same time the child entered detention and the child denies the allegations, a trial will be held no later than 15 days after placement in detention. If the child is detained after the charge is filed, the trial will be held no later than 15 days after placement in detention. If a charge is filed and the child is already detained on other charges, the trial will be held within 15 days of the filing of the charge.
The prosecuting attorney’s filing of either a notice of intent to pursue or a statement of an interest in pursuing a serious youthful offender sentence shall constitute good cause for continuing the adjudicatory hearing date and extending detention or shelter care.
- Final disposition for any child in detention will be completed within 90 days of the child entering into custody.
(B) Complaint Filed and Child Not in Detention
- A plea hearing will be held within 30 days of a complaint being filed, and if possible, within 15 days.
- If the child admits to the charge, the Court will proceed to immediate disposition; or if appropriate, a dispositional hearing will be held within 21 days.
- If the child denies the allegations, a trial will be held within 30 days of the plea hearing, and if possible, within 15 days.
- Final disposition will be completed within 6 months of the adjudication [Juv. R. 29 (F)(2)].
- Continuances of any of the above stages may be granted upon a showing of good cause, but continuances should be for no longer than the period necessary to resolve the good cause.
Parentage and Child Support Cases
(A) Service of process will be sent as expeditiously as possible after the filing of the complaint.
(B) A hearing will be scheduled in a timely fashion to allow completion of service of process on the parties following the filing of the complaint.
(C) If a defendant admits the allegations in the complaint, the Court may proceed immediately to determination of a support order.
(D) If a defendant denies the allegations, the Court, at the pretrial hearing, may set the date for genetic testing. The date of the testing will be scheduled as soon as practicable following the pretrial hearing. The next pretrial will be scheduled as soon as practicable to allow for completion of the genetic testing.
(E) If genetic tests show exclusion, the Court may entertain a motion to dismiss.
(F) If genetic tests show inclusion:
- If a defendant changes his/her plea to admit, the Court may proceed immediately to determination of a support order;
- If a defendant continues to deny, a trial will be scheduled as soon as practicable.
(G) Continuances may be granted upon a showing of good cause, but the continuances should be for no longer than is necessary to resolve the good cause.
Custody and Parenting Time Cases
(A) Service of process will be sent as expeditiously as possible after the filing of the complaint along with notice of the initial hearing. The hearing shall be scheduled as soon as practicable.
(B) Pretrial matters, including completion of discovery, should be resolved at preliminary hearings. Trials will be scheduled as soon as practicable following the last preliminary hearing.
(C) Continuances may be granted upon a showing of good cause, but the continuance should not be longer than necessary to resolve the good cause.
(D) All custody/parenting time complaints will be resolved within the time guidelines set forth in the Rules of Superintendence.
Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Cases
(A) Absent a voluntary agreement for care, when a child is removed from the home, a hearing will be held the next court date or within 72 hours, whichever is earlier.
(B) When a private agency files a request for permanent commitment based on a permanent surrender, a hearing will be held within 30 days from the filing.
(C) In all other cases, a hearing will be held no later than 21 days after the complaint is filed.
(D) An adjudicatory hearing will be held within 60 days of the complaint being filed.
(E) Disposition will occur no later than 90 days from the date a complaint was filed, unless the parties waive such period.
(F) Continuances may be granted upon a showing of good cause, but the continuances should be no longer than is necessary to resolve the good cause.
(A) Applicability. This Rule applies to all complaints and cases filed on or after July 1, 2015, in which a child is alleged to be abused, neglected and/or dependent.
(B) Separate Complaints. A separate complaint shall be filed with respect to each child alleged to be abused, neglected and/or dependent.
(C) Birth Record. A copy of the child’s birth certificate shall be filed with the complaint, or within 60 days, if unavailable at the time of filing.
(D) Related Cases. Upon filing a complaint, the complainant shall have determined if there are any Related Cases and shall identify any Related Cases to the Clerk. “Related Cases” are:
- Cases filed at the same time regarding children who have a common biological or adoptive mother;
- Cases which meet both of the following criteria:
a) children who have a common biological or adoptive mother; and
b) with respect to any of such mother’s children in a previously filed abuse, neglect or dependency case, the Court has not made disposition under R.C. 2151.353 (A)(3-5) of legal custody, permanent custody or planned permanent living arrangement; or
- Cases concerning children who have the same legal custodian.
(E) Case Numbers and Case Files.
The Clerk shall:
- Assign consecutive case numbers to Related Cases which are filed simultaneously;
- Ensure that identification of any one Related Case in the Court’s computerized docketing system also identifies all other cases related thereto.
- On the outside of each case file of Related Cases, note the case number(s) of any other Related Cases.
(F) Consolidation. Related Cases are hereby consolidated for purposes of hearings and trials. Such consolidation need not occur if the Court determines that the interests of justice or efficiency warrant otherwise. Separate Decisions, Orders, Entries, Summonses and other notices shall issue under each Related Case number, unless otherwise determined by the Court. Motions and other filings by parties or other interested persons shall be filed separately under each Related Case number unless otherwise directed by the Court.
(A) Judge, Magistrate, and clerk notes, drafts and research prepared for the purpose of compiling a report, opinion, or other document or memorandum may be kept separate from the case file, retained in the case file, or destroyed at the discretion of the preparer.
(B) Delinquency and adult records shall be retained for two years after the final order of the juvenile division or one year after the issuance of an audit report by the Auditor of State, whichever is later. Documents admissible as evidence of a prior conviction in a criminal proceeding shall be retained for fifty years after the final order of the juvenile division.
(C) Juvenile by-pass records shall be maintained in two separate and secure files. The first file shall contain the first page of the form complaint and other relevant documents and the second file shall contain the second page of the form complaint bearing the signature of the complainant.
Each file shall be retained for two years after the final order of the juvenile division or, if an appeal is sought, for two years after the filing of the appeal.
(D) Permanent custody, custody, parentage, visitation, support enforcement, abuse, neglect, dependency and URESA/UIFSA records shall be retained for two years after the child who is the subject of the case obtains the age of majority. If post-decree motions have been filed, records shall be retained for one year after the adjudication of the post-decree motion or for two years after the child who is the subject of the motion obtains the age of majority, whichever is later.
(E) Search warrant records shall be indexed by date and the warrants and returns retained in their original form for five years after the date of service or last service attempt.
(F) Unruly and marriage consent records shall be retained for two years after the final order of the juvenile division or one year after the issuance of an audit report by the Auditor of State, whichever is later. Minor misdemeanor traffic records shall be retained for five years after the final order of the juvenile division. Misdemeanor traffic records shall be retained for twenty-fiveyears after the final order of the juvenile division. All other traffic records shall be retained for fifty years after the final order of the juvenile division.
The use and filing of a traffic ticket that is produced by computer or other electronic means is hereby authorized in the Brown County Juvenile Court pursuant to Traffic Rule 3(F). The electronically produced traffic ticket shall conform in all substantive respects to the Ohio Uniform Traffic Ticket. If an electronically produced traffic ticket is issued at the scene of an alleged offense, the issuing officer shall serve the defendant with the defendant's paper copy of the ticket as required by division (E) of Traffic Rule 3. The court record of the ticket shall be filed with the Brown County Juvenile Court on paper of sufficient quality to allow the court record copy to remain unchanged for the period of the retention schedule for the various traffic offenses as prescribed by the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio. The court record of the ticket may also be filed electronically with the court in lieu of the paper court record. A law enforcement officer who files a ticket with the court and electronically affixes the officer's signature thereto shall be considered to have certified the ticket and shall have the same rights, responsibilities and liabilities as with all other traffic tickets issued pursuant to the authority granted by the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio.
(A) Electronic signatures of the judge, magistrates and clerks of this court may, at the sole discretion of the signatory, be affixed to documents, entries, decisions, and orders issued by this court. The judge and magistrates may affix their electronic signature or direct a clerk of the court to affix their electronic signature. Electronic signatures issued in accordance with this rule shall have the same force and effect as a manual signature by the signatory.
(B) Attorneys for the Brown County Child Support Enforcement Agency may submit complaints, entries, and all other court filings to the Clerk of Courts with their electronic signatures. The electronic signature shall comply with a format and processes of authentication as outlined in Paragraph D of this Local Rule.
(C) “Electronic Record” means a record created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means.
(D) “Electronic signature” means an electronic sound, symbol, image, or process attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record. Electronic signatures utilized by this court shall be subject to the following procedure:
(1) The electronic signature creation data shall at all times be under the control of the signatory.
(2) The electronic signature created by the electronic signature creation data shall be capable of verification as authentic by the court. The case management system will receive the electronic record. The electronic record will be created within the case management system or from an application outside of the court. The login will involve a user name and password which are unique to the sender. A secure register of the user name and password for each authorized user shall be kept.
The user name and/or password shall be approved by the administrator of the court application. Secure password procedures shall be utilized.
(3) The electronic signature shall be linked to the data in the electronic document to which it pertains in such a manner so as to assure that, if the data are changed after the electronic signature is entered, the electronic signature shall be invalidated. Such invalidation shall be readily detectable in both the electronically stored signed document and in any paper copy of that document generated from the electronically stored data.
(4) An electronic signature in an electronic record filed with the court in accordance with this Local Rule shall be presumed to be authentic. If established upon motion of the signor or the signor’s personal representative that an electronic signature was transmitted without authority or modified from the signor adopted, the court may order the filing stricken.
(5) The electronic record shall demonstrate that the electronic signature is associated with the electronic record. Any electronic or paper output from the case management system shall indicate that the record was signed electronically and identified by name the person who electronically signed the electronic record.
Physical restraint of a child in court proceedings shall not be utilized unless the judge or magistrate before whom the child is appearing makes an individualized determination on the record that there is no less restrictive alternative to the use of physical restraint and that the physical restraint of the child is necessary because the child represents a current and significant threat to the safety of the child’s self or other persons in the courtroom, or there is a significant risk the child will flee the courtroom.
The child who is the subject of a juvenile court proceeding, the child’s spouse, if any, the child’s parent or parents, or if the parent of a child is a child, the parent of that parent, in appropriate cases, the child’s custodian, guardian or guardian ad litem, the child’s counsel, the state, court security staff, detention personnel, probation officers, and any other person specifically designated by the court shall have the right upon written or verbal request to be heard on the issue of whether the use of physical restraint is necessary for that particular child at that particular proceeding. The juvenile may attend the restraint hearing or may be excused from the hearing on the child’s request.
If the judge or magistrate determines that physical restraint is necessary, the restraint shall be the least restrictive means necessary to meet the risk requiring the restraint as determined by the judge or magistrate. Such restraint should not unnecessarily restrict the movement of the child’s hands.
This rule shall not prohibit the use of restraints during transportation to and from the court or in the court buildings either before or after hearings.
“Early Evaluation Program” (EEP) is a court-ordered dispute resolution process in which a trained evaluator provides an evaluation of the probable outcome of a dispute.
The “Evaluator” means a court-appointed individual who conducts the EEP session and who meets all of the following qualifications:
- A minimum of twelve hours of basic mediation training;
- A minimum of forty hours of specialized family or divorce mediation training;
- Fourteen hours of specialized training in domestic abuse issues provided by the Supreme Court of Ohio Dispute Resolution Section and
- Other criteria as directed by the Court.
“EEP Communication” means a statement, whether oral, in a record, verbal or nonverbal, that occurs during an EEP session or is made for purposes of considering, conducting, participating in, initiating, continuing, or reconvening an EEP session.
(B) Case Selection and Referral
EEP will be court ordered in pro se cases and is an option available for all juvenile court cases regarding paternity and custody. The fee for EEP is $ 300.00, which is to be paid no later than fourteen days prior to the scheduled EEP session.
The parties can request EEP through a motion to the Court. Also, the Court, on its own motion, may order parties to the EEP in whole or in part, by completing an Entry Ordering EEP or Magistrate’s Order for EEP.
The EEP session will require the participation of each parent and their respective attorneys, if applicable. No other person will be permitted to participate without prior approval of the Court.
(D) Scheduling Procedure
Upon approval of an Agreed Entry or issuance of an Entry Ordering EEP, the matter shall be set on the calendar of the EEP Evaluator by the Court. EEP sessions will be scheduled Monday through Friday, during court hours. A post-EEP hearing with the assigned Judge or Magistrate will also be scheduled at this time. The sessions will be scheduled for 3 hours and shall be set to begin at either 9:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. Additional sessions may be requested via Motion and additional order from the Court.
(E) Prior to your session
Parties must pay their balance no less than fourteen (14) days before the day of mediation.
Parties should gather their documentation and previous paperwork to bring to the mediation. The EEP evaluator will likely review any documentation necessary to assist with the mediation process.
(F) Session Procedure
In a perfect setting, the EEP session will be divided into three phases; the first of which is Information Gathering and at this phase, the Evaluator will oversee any discussion to allow each parent and/or attorney the opportunity to be heard in an atmosphere of cooperation and respect. The Evaluator will seek additional information from the parties, if necessary.
Once the information is gathered, the Evaluator will meet privately with the parties to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each parent’s position and to discuss probable outcomes for the parents.
The final phase will allow the Evaluator to present their feedback and options to all parties present at the session. The parents will be given an opportunity to consult privately with their attorneys to review and discuss the Evaluator’s feedback. Once the parties reconvene, the Evaluator will pursue the opportunity to come to a full or partial agreement. If the parents come to a full or partial agreement, the Evaluator will assist with writing down the agreement into a Memorandum which the parties will then sign. If at all possible, the Court will hear the agreement read into the record in an effort to reduce additional court appearances and court costs. If attorneys are representing the party, the attorney will prepare the final judgment entry which incorporates the agreement reached and a final judgment entry will be mailed out. If the parties are not represented by an attorney, the Court will prepare the final judgment entry which will be mailed out.
Early Evaluation Program communications are confidential. Exceptions to confidentiality include the following:
- Parties may share all EEP communications with their attorneys;
- Allegations of abuse or neglect of a child;
- Certain threats of harm to other people or oneself;
- Statements made during the EEP process to plan or to hide an ongoing crime;
- Statements made during the EEP process that reveal a felony.
An EEP communication is privileged and not subject to discovery or admissible as evidence in a judicial proceeding. An Early Neutral Evaluator may not be deposed or subpoenaed to testify about any EEP communication unless an exception applies.
Exceptions to privilege include the following:
- The EEP communication is otherwise discoverable;
- The EEP communication is an imminent threat or statement of a plan to inflict bodily injury or commit a crime of violence;
- The EEP communication is intentionally used to plan, to attempt to commit, or to commit a crime or to conceal an ongoing crime or ongoing criminal activity;
- The EEP communication is required to be disclosed pursuant to Ohio Revised Code §2921.22.
It is the policy of this Court to determine matters in a timely manner. A motion seeking a continuance of a scheduled EEP will be required, with proper notice provided and pursuant to Local Rules. A continuance of a scheduled EEP session shall be granted only for good cause shown.
Any party or attorney who violates these rules may be subject to appropriate sanctions, including but not limited to, additional fees, forfeiture of paid EEP fee, contempt of court, attorney fees, or costs.