The Ohio Court System is comprised of Mayor's Courts, County Courts, a Court of Claims, Courts of Common Pleas, Courts of Appeals and Supreme Court.
Ohio's Mayor's Courts are not an official part of the state's judicial branch, but they must file statistics on a regular basis with the Supreme Court. These are also not courts of record. If a city has more than 100 residents and there isn't a Municipal Court located there, the Mayor's Courts will hear traffic and local ordinance violation cases.
In some municipalities, a Municipal Court will exercise countywide jurisdiction. In areas where this is not the case, a County Court is created to serve that area. Thus, these courts have nearly the same jurisdiction over matters of preliminary felony hearings, civil claims up to $15,000, misdemeanors and limited civil jurisdiction.
The Courts of Common Pleas are located in each of the state's 88 counties. They are also divided into four divisions: general, domestic relations, probate and juvenile. The general division hears felony cases and civil claims over $15,000. These divisions will also preside over appeals from lower state agency decisions.
The domestic relations division exercises jurisdiction over marriages and divorce, parental rights, spousal and child support, legal separation, child custody and annulment. Juvenile divisions oversee cases regarding juvenile delinquency, child neglect and even paternity, child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of minors. Probate divisions oversee the probate of wills and estate administration, issue marriage licenses, adoptions, eminent domain and mental competency.
The Court of Claims hears civil cases filed against the state and government agencies. These cases are typically regarding contract disputes, property damage and injury, immunity of officers, discrimination and wrongful imprisonment. Most cases are heard by one judge, but more complex issues may be given a three-judge panel.
Ohio's Courts of Appeals are the state's intermediate appellate courts, hearing appeals from the Common Pleas, Municipal and County courts. These courts are presided over by a three-judge panel. There are 12 districts in Ohio, each with a Court of Appeals and minimum of four judges. These courts also exercise original jurisdiction over applications for writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, procedendo, prohibition and quo warranto. Franklin County's Court of Appeals hears appeals from the state's Court of Claims.
The Ohio Supreme Court is the state's court of last resort and has a total of seven justices. This court is the high appellate court and hears appeals from the Courts of Appeals. Unlike some states, the Ohio Supreme Court always accepts appeals for cases that originated in the Courts of Appeals, death penalty cases, constitutional questions and cases where conflicting opinions have been issued from more than one Court of Appeals.
In 2012, the case of Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) v. Schwartzwald determined that the mortgage company must have a promissory note assigned to them before legally foreclosing. Freddie Mac did not in fact have one, so the Ohio Supreme Court decided the plaintiff had no legal standing in the case.