Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Public Comment Requested Regarding Five-Judge Commissions

The Supreme Court of Ohio is accepting public comment on proposed amendments that would update the rules concerning election-related violations by a judicial candidate and complaints that would remove a judge from the bench.

The specific changes address five-judge commissions under the Rules for the Government of the Judiciary of Ohio. Five-judge commissions are appointed by the Supreme Court to hear complaints alleging violations by a judicial candidate of certain election-related requirements and prohibitions. Commissions also hear complaints where there is a retirement due to disability, removal, or suspension of a judge. The judges on a commission must be selected from a different appellate district than the accused.

The proposed changes to Gov.Jud.R. II and III would add new requirements. These include a judge having at least four years of experience to be eligible to serve on a commission. Additionally, political designation could impact the composition of a five-judge commission. If the accused judge or judicial candidate belongs to a major political party, no more than three commission members can be of the same party with the other judges required to be of a different political party. For judicial-election related commissions, the amendment would also prohibit a judge from serving on the commission if they are a current candidate for judicial office. Finally, the judge with the longest time of service on the bench would be appointed as the commission chair and be required to schedule the date, time, and location of the commission’s first meeting.

Comments should be submitted in writing before Jan. 29, 2024, to:

John VanNorman
Chief Legal Counsel
Supreme Court of Ohio
65 S. Front St., 7th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215