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MENTOR MUNICIPAL COURT RULES
LOCAL RULES OF COURT
The Mentor Municipal Court, Lake County, Ohio, (hereinafter, “the
Court”) hereby adopts the following Rules of Court for the handling
of cases and management of the Court. These Rules are adopted pursuant
to the authority of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio
and are intended to:
Supplement and complement the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure, the
Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Ohio Traffic Rules of Superintendence
for Municipal and County Courts, and other controlling rules and statutes
in the application and administration of proceedings within this court,
and repeal all Rules of the Court previously enacted.
Apply to all parties, counsel of record, and subject matter of all
actions, civil, criminal, or traffic, filed on and after the effective
Be applied, construed, and enforced so as to avoid inconsistency
with other rules of court and statues, governing proceedings, functions,
and services of this Court. In their application and administration
they shall be construed and employed so as to provide fairness and
simplicity in procedure, to avoid technical and unjustifiable delay,
and to secure just, expeditious, and inexpensive determination of all
actions and proceedings.
RULE 1. HOURS OF REGULAR SESSION
The offices of the Court shall be open
between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday,
and Friday. On Wednesday the hours will be between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00
p.m. The Court is closed for all legal holidays. These hours may be
extended or diminished by Order of the Court from time to time.
RULE 2. FACSIMILE FILING
Motions and Sheriff Fees may be filed with the Court by facsimile
transmission. The Clerk of Court shall cause the facsimile transmission
to be time-stamped forthwith upon its receipt. The filed facsimile shall
have the same force and effect as any other paper filed with the Clerk
of Court pursuant to Civ. R. 5 (E). A hard copy and any appropriate filing
fee(s) shall be submitted to the Court within five (5) business days
of the fax filing.
RULE 3. CONTINUANCES
All motion for continuance shall be submitted to the Court in
writing at least seven (7) days prior to scheduled hearing and must contain
a brief in support setting forth the reasons requiring the continuance
along with a proposed order for the Court’s review and approval.
A continuance that has not been ruled on by the date of any hearing shall
be considered to be denied. When a continuance is sought for the reason
that counsel is scheduled to appear in another case assigned for trial
or hearing on the same date in another Court in the State the movant
shall append to the motion a copy of the notice received from the other
Court, along with a copy of the notice received from this Court.
Motions for continuance sought due to a conflict in hearing or trial
schedules shall be decided in accordance with Rule 41(B) of the Rules
of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio.
Motions for continuance, when submitted within the required seven (7)
days, will be granted only upon the showing of good cause constituting
extreme hardship, unforeseen circumstances, or other unavoidable conditions.
RULE 4. FILING FEES
The schedule of filing fees in civil and criminal cases has been adopted
by the Court and may be amended from time-to-time by Court Order. Copies
of such schedules are available upon request.
Funds will be established by journal entry to aid in the efficiency
of the court as deemed necessary per ORC 1901.26(B)(1).
RULE 5. CASE MANAGEMENT IN CIVIL CASES
Purpose: The purpose of these rules is to establish,
pursuant to the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio, a
system for civil case management, which will achieve the prompt and
fair disposal of civil cases.
Scheduling of Events: The scheduling of a case begins when a civil
case is filed. Thereafter, the case is managed in five (5) clerical
steps and four (4) judicial steps.
- Clerical Steps:
Summons shall be served in accordance with
the Ohio Rules of Procedure. In the event there is a failure
of service, the clerk shall notify counsel immediately. If counsel
fails to obtain service of summons within thirty (30) days of
the notification date of “Failure of Service Notice” then
the case will be dismissed without prejudice unless good cause
is shown to the contrary.
Upon perfection of service and the
failure of defendant to respond in twenty-eight (28) days,
the clerk shall notify counsel that a motion for Default
Hearing and Judgment should be filed with the appropriate
supporting evidence. The failure to submit an entry within
fifteen (15) days may result in the case being dismissed.
any responsive pleading is filed, the clerk shall immediately
forward said pleading and file to the Judge’s secretary/assignment
clerk so that the matter may be set for a hearing.
If no action has been
taken on a file for a three (3) month period and the case is
not set for trial, then the clerk may notify the party that the
matter will be dismissed within one (1) week unless good cause
When a file has been marked “settlement entry to come” and
the entry has not been received within seven (7) days,
the court will file it’s own “settled and dismissed” entry.
All motions must be in writing and accompanied by a written memorandum
containing citations or the arguments of counsel. Opposing counsel
shall answer in like manner within fourteen (14) days thereafter.
All motions will be considered submitted at the end of said fourteen
(14) day period unless time is extended by the court. There will
be no oral hearings granted in said motions unless the parties
request an oral hearing in writing and the court deems it necessary.
the purpose of this rule, “pretrial” shall mean
a court supervised conference chiefly designed to produce an amicable
settlement. The term “party” or “parties” used
hereinafter shall mean the party or parties to the action, and/or
his, hers, or their attorney of record. Any attorney for a party
to the action who fails to attend a scheduled pretrial conference
without just cause being shown may be punished for contempt of this
court. Notice of pretrial conference shall be given to all counsel
of record by mail and/or by telephone from the assignment clerk not
less than fourteen (14) days prior to the conference. Any application
for continuance of the conference shall be addressed to the Judge.
Counsel attending the pretrial conference must have complete authority
to stipulate on items of evidence and must have full settlement authority
of have client present. The primary purpose of the pretrial conference
shall be to achieve an amicable settlement of the controversy in
suit. The Court shall attempt to narrow legal issues, to reach stipulations
as to facts in controversy and, in general, to shorten the time and
expense of trial. The court shall, at that time, determine whether
or not trial briefs should be submitted and shall fix a date when
they are to be filed, as well as set any future discovery time limits.
The Judge/Magistrate presiding at the pretrial conference of trial
shall have the authority to dismiss the action for want of prosecution
on motion of defendant upon failure of plaintiff and/or his counsel
to appear in person at a pretrial conference or trial; to order the
plaintiff to proceed with the case and to decide and determine all
matters ex parte upon failure of defendant to appear in person or
by counsel at any pretrial conference or trial as required; to make
such other order as the court may deem appropriate under all the
circumstances. If the case cannot be settled at pretrial, the case
will be set for trial at the time agreeable to all parties.
No party shall be granted a continuance of
trial or a hearing without a written motion from the party or
his counsel stating the reason for the continuance. When a continuance
is requested for the reason that counsel is scheduled to appear
in another case assigned for trial on the same date in the same
or another trial court of this state, such request must provide
the other court’s
notice of such assignment, the date of the notice and the receipt
thereof. The case which was first set for trial shall have priority
and shall be tried on the date assigned. Criminal cases assigned
for trial have priority over civil cases assigned for trial.
The granting of any other request for continuance of a scheduled
trial is a matter within the discretion of the trial Court.
will prepare all judgment entries where determination was made
at trial. Agreed entries may be filed at any time prior to trial
or fourteen (14) days upon agreement by the parties. The journal
entry shall state which party will pay the court cost.
RULE 6. FORCIBLE ENTRY & DETAINER HEARINGS
All forcible entry and detainer cases shall be set for hearing before
the Judge or Magistrate pursuant to the time limits set forth in the
Ohio Revised Code. At that hearing, the Ohio Rules of Evidence and
the applicable Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure will be applied. The Magistrate
shall, at the conclusion of the hearing, file his written findings
within seven (7) days and cause a copy to be served on the plaintiff
The Magistrate shall, at the conclusion of each
case, serve a copy of his findings upon the plaintiff and defendant
and inform the parties that they may file objections to the Magistrate’s findings within
fourteen (14) days in writing. The objections to the Magistrate’s
finding should state, with specificity, the reason a new hearing is
requested. No oral hearing will be granted on said motion. The court
shall, after consideration of the reasons in the objections to the
magistrate’s findings, rule on said objections to magistrate’s
finding within fourteen (14) days of the filing of the objections.
If an answer or a jury demand is filed in a forcible entry and detainer
case, then the clerk shall forward the case to a judge so the case
can be scheduled for the appropriate hearing and set the required bond.
Within seven (7) says of the journalization of
any judgment entry or order, the Clerk of Court shall serve the entry
or order upon every party who is not in default for failure to appear.
Service shall be made in the manner provided in Civil Rule 5. In
general, this will mean service via ordinary U.S. Mail upon the party’s
attorney or, if the party is a pro se litigant, upon the party.
RULE 7. SMALL CLAIMS
A small claim action is commenced by filing a small claims petition,
pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 1925.04. All parties are required
to be present at the time of the hearing. No defendant is required
to file an answer or statement of defense. However, should the defendant
fail to appear for the hearing, after being duly served, then a default
judgment will be entered against said defendant. If the plaintiff fails
to appear it may result in dismissal of the action for want of prosecution.
All pleadings will be construed to accomplish substantial justice.
Upon filing of motion and affidavit, as required by the Ohio Revised
Section 1925.10, and upon payment of the required cost, the small claim
will be transferred to the regular docket. No transfer will be granted
until the filing costs are paid.
The hearing in small claims court may be conducted by a magistrate
in lieu of a Judge. The Magistrate/Judge shall place all parties who
plan to offer evidence under the oath and then allow the plaintiff
and defendant to state their case. The plaintiff and defendant may
subpoena and call witnesses if they desire to do so. The Ohio Rules
of Evidence and the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure may be modified in
small claims hearings to permit hearings consistent with the intent
of O.R.C. 1925.
The magistrate shall, at the conclusion of each
case, serve a copy of his finding upon the plaintiff and defendant
and inform the parties that they may file objections to the magistrate’s finding in
writing within fourteen (14) days. The objections to the magistrate’s
findings should state, with specificity, the reason a new hearing is
requested. No oral hearing will be granted on said motion. The court
shall after consideration of the reasons in the objections to the magistrate’s
findings, rule on said objections to the magistrate’s findings
within fourteen (14) days of the filing of the objections.
The Judge shall review the findings of the magistrate and enter the
The Employees of the court shall assist the prevailing parties in
collection of their judgment pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section
Dismissals by telephone will be allowed with written notification
to the court to follow with in seven (7) days.
RULE 8. CRIMINAL CASE MANAGEMENT
The purpose of these rules is to establish, pursuant to
the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio, a system for criminal
case management, which will provide the fair and impartial administration
of criminal cases. These rules shall be construed and applied to eliminate
unnecessary delay and expense for all parties involved in the court
All defendants must appear for arraignment and the setting of bond.
For minor misdemeanors defense attorneys may enter an appearance of
representation including a not guilty plea and waiver of time. The
defendant must appear for pretrial.
Except as previously noted, the scheduling begins after arraignment.
Thereafter, the case is managed in four judicial steps;
After arraignment, all misdemeanors shall be set
for pretrial by assignment commissioner within fourteen (14)
days unless defendant enters a waiver of time. Preliminary
hearings on all felonies shall be heard within fourteen (14)
days, unless time is waived, or within ten (10) days if defendant
is unable to post bond. The pretrial shall be conducted in
accordance with criminal rule 17.1, and where matters are
agreed upon, a memorandum should be filed in said case. Any
attorney who fails to appear for pretrial without just cause
being shown, may be punished for contempt of court, and a
warrant will be issued for any defendant who fails to appear
approval unless he appears at the court within
a reasonable time as agreed by court, defense counsel, and
defendant. If the parties cannot resolve the case, then the
case will be set for trial to the court unless a jury is
- Motions: All motions shall
be made in writing and accompanied by a written memorandum containing
the arguments of counsel. Motions must be filed within the time
limits established by the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure. Most
motions shall be set for oral hearing. Any motion which by its
nature is capable of determination without hearing shall be ruled
on without hearing. Where continuances are sought, there must
be an affidavit and if applicable, a copy of other court notice
showing dates of previously scheduled conflicting case hearings.
Each case not resolved at pretrial shall be set for trial to
court. If a jury demand is timely filed, then the case will be
moved to the jury trial schedule. Dates of trials will be given
to attorney and/or defendant at pretrial. All attorneys shall notify
the court by 3:00 P.M. of the day preceding their trial of any
change in plea or jury costs will be attached to their case.
Sentencing hearings will occur at time of guilty finding unless
a pre-sentencing report is requested or court deems it necessary
in the interest of justice to sentence at later reasonable date.
After the court receives the probation report, the court will set
hearing for sentencing within seven (7) days.
RULE 9. NOTIFICATION TO VICTIMS CRIME
In cases involving a charge under O.R.C. sections 2903.05, Negligent
Homicide; 2903.07, Vehicular Homicide; 2903.13, Assault; 2903.21, Aggravated
Menacing; 2903.211, Menacing by Stalking; 2903.22, Menacing; 2907.06,
Sexual Imposition; 2919.25, Domestic Violence; 2921.04(A), Intimidation
of Attorney, Victim or Witness in criminal case (or any successor statute);
or a violation of any substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, it
shall be the duty of the prosecutor and/or his designee in the case to
provide the alleged victim of act that was the basis of the charge or
a representative member of the alleged victim’s family with the
information required under O.R.C. 2930.06. The prosecutor and/or his
designee shall provide the information, either orally or in writing,
upon his earliest contact with the alleged victim after the charges have
The prosecutor and/or his designee shall notify the court of the date
of such notice at the time of sentencing. In cases which are disposed
of by plea, trial, reduction to another charge, or which are requested
to be dismissed, it shall be the duty of the prosecutor or his designee
to advise the court at the time of the disposition whether or not the
alleged victim, or his/her representative in such case, is present in
the courtroom so that they may be given an opportunity to address the
court prior to court action pursuant to such statues.
RULE 10. MENTAL HEALTH COURT
In order to facilitate efficient and effective treatment of defendants
with mental illness the Mentor Municipal Court established the Court-Directed
Mental Health Court effective April 26, 2004 and orders the reference
of cases originating in Lake County and identified for this program to
be directed to this court. The Court shall have the authority to accept
or reject cases referred to the Mental Health Court program for supervision,
guidance and treatment. The Court shall have the authority to conduct
arraignments, accept pleas, and enter findings and dispositions including
intervention in lieu of conviction and in the event of termination of
an unsuccessful participant of the program to refer the defendant to
the Municipal Judge where the case originated.
RULE 11. DRUG COURT
In order to facilitate efficient and effective treatment of defendants
with drug abuse or addictions, the Mentor Municipal Court established the Court-Directed
Drug Court effective April 6, 2010, to provide comprehensive support and
monitoring services in collaboration with the cities of Mentor and
Mentor-on-the-Lake, and the Lake County drug and alcohol agencies.