Unlike most states in America, Ohio has a unique system of punishing minor misdemeanors and ordinance violations through municipal institutions called mayor’s courts. In 2017, Ohio had 295 of these courts, and they heard nearly 300,000 cases. But these are not normal courts. Ohio’s mayor’s courts do not conduct ability to pay hearings and can jail defendants who fail to pay court fines. With the author’s original research into Ohio’s mayor’s courts, this Note argues that these institutions can function like modern-day debtor’s prisons and violate indigent defendants’ constitutional right to Due Process. Ultimately, this Note proposes a model bill for the Ohio legislature that promotes more oversight and promises to save the constitutionality of these municipal institutions.
Land of the Free, If You Can Afford It: Reforming Mayor's Courts in Ohio,
68 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol68/iss3/10