Lakewood Municipal Court
Prepared by Robert G. Curren, Director of Law
In the United States, in many of the larger cities, there are courts designated municipal courts, with statutory jurisdiction in criminal or civil cases, or both, usually limited not only in amount, but by the requirement that suits can only be instituted against residents, and crimes prosecuted which are committed within the city. There are some exceptions as to jurisdiction in certain cases.
Municipal courts are created by an act of the General Assembly. General Code Sections 1579-910 to 1579-957 relate to the municipal court of Lakewood.
The act creating the municipal court of Lakewood became effective June 20, 1927. It provides for a municipal court with criminal and civil jurisdiction. Two judges are elected by the voters. They receive two thousand dollars ($2,000) per annum from the county and such further compensation from the city of Lakewood as the council may prescribe. All such compensation is payable in monthly installments. The city of Lakewood, by ordinance, has prescribed its portion of the salary as three thousand dollars ($3,000) per annum, making a total salary for each of the judges of five thousand dollars ($5,000) per year. The term is for six years each.
Any vacancy in the office of municipal judge, other than temporary absence or disability, shall be filled by appointment by the Governor until a successor is elected and qualified.
The jurisdiction of the court exercised within the limits of the city of Lakewood and the act creating the court defines in detail the jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the court is limited to claims not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1000). The court has certain jurisdiction within the limits of the county in civil and criminal cases.
The act provides for a clerk, deputy clerks, bailiff and deputy bailiffs and contains a complete procedure for the operation of the municipal court.
The director of law is the prosecuting attorney in the municipal court. He may detail such of his assistant directors of law as he may deem proper to assist in such work.
Criminal cases which come before the municipal court relate to the violations of ordinances of the city and of the state laws. Under the ordinances when imprisonment is not a part of the punishment which may be imposed by the court, the court may hear the case and decide it without a jury. When the accused, if convicted, may be imprisoned as a part of the punishment, he may demand a jury trial.
In felony cases the court is authorized to hear a part of the case, sufficient to show that there is probable cause for holding the prisoner for trial. The prisoner may demand a preliminary hearing, or may waive examination, such prisoner, if there is probable cause, is bound over to the grand jury of the court of common pleas.
The difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is that a felony is a crime for which on conviction the prisoner may be imprisoned in the penitentiary or may be put to death. All other crimes are misdemeanors.
COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
This is a county court, with both civil and criminal jurisdiction. The judges are elected for a six year term.
This is a county court. It has jurisdiction of all matters relating to the administration of the estates of deceased persons, guardians, trustees, etc. This court issues the marriage licenses. This is a very busy court and one of the most important.
This is a county court. It has jurisdiction of all children under sixteen charged with offenses against the law. It has also jurisdiction in neglect of children and certain criminal jurisdiction.
COURT OF APPEALS
This court is composed of three judges and its jurisdiction extends throughout the county. Generally its duties are to review cases brought to it under error proceedings from the lower courts. In certain cases it has original jurisdiction and may hear the case, which may be begun in that court. It is a very important court and in a great many causes is the court of last resort.
STATE SUPREME COURT
Seven judges compose this court. Only cases of a certain kind are heard by this court. Generally only cases involving a constitutional question, or a question of great public interest, may be carried to the Supreme Court. The judges are elected by the electors of the entire state, and serve for six years. It meets at Columbus.
The United States District Court, two judges, is located in Cleveland. The judges are appointed by the president and hold office for life or during good behavior. Its jurisdiction applies to the acts of Congress and causes arising under the constitution of the United States.
The United States Circuit Court, three judges, appointed by the president, holds its sessions in Cincinnati.
The United States Supreme Court, nine judges, appointed by the president, for life or during good behavior, holds its sessions at Washington, D.C. It has extensive jurisdiction and may review certain decisions of the Supreme Court of any State.
(This out line is not intended to be complete, but will give a general idea of the courts on which Lakewood people may be concerned.)