Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

New Rules of Practice and Procedure Take Effect July 1

A series of rule changes regarding practice and procedure in Ohio’s courts are scheduled to take effect tomorrow.

The amendments alter several rules governing civil, criminal, juvenile, and traffic proceedings, and rules of evidence. The amendments were submitted to the Supreme Court of Ohio by its Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure and incorporate two rounds of public comment. 

Changes to the Civil Rules include:

  • Requiring courts to provide for filing by electronic means.
  • Clarifying that electronic signature on court filings is acceptable.
  • Allowing service among parties to be on mutually agreeable electronic platforms other than e-mail.
  • Authorizing court reporters to administer oaths to people testifying remotely from outside this state. 
  • Removing domestic relations cases from the waiver of service provisions adopted in 2019. A waiver of service allows plaintiffs to ask defendants to voluntarily enter a lawsuit without being summoned by a court.

The Criminal Rules of Procedure includes a change expanding the notice period required of defendants seeking to offer testimony to establish an alibi, from seven days before trial to 30 days before trial in a felony case and 14 days before trial in a misdemeanor case. A new rule establishes the same notice requirement for defendants seeking to put forth evidence of self-defense, defense of other, or defense of residence.

A change to the Traffic Rules allows electronic citations to be used in misdemeanor cases. The Traffic Rules also are amended to specify that the Multi-Count Uniform Traffic Ticket (“MUTT”) constitutes a complaint for bind over purposes from misdemeanor to felony offenses.

The Evidence Rules are amended to change how and when jurors can provide testimony following a criminal case. This change was proposed to conform with recent federal case law. Other changes to the Evidence Rules mirror recent federal rule changes.

The commission conducts an annual review of the Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rules of Juvenile Procedure, and Rules of Evidence and each fall recommends amendments to the Court. The proposals are published twice for public comment in the fall and winter.  The commission typically considers changes to the Traffic Rules on the same cycle.