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Daily Court Reporter - News Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice gets award for campaign against Issue 1

 

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice gets award for campaign against Issue 1

Anne Yeager, Supreme Court of Ohio

A leading force in defeating a measure that would have changed the Ohio Constitution received an award for her efforts last fall against Issue 1.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor was awarded the President’s Partnering for Quality Award by the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities (OACBHA) at the Statehouse this week.

“We gave this (award) to Chief Justice O’Connor because of her thorough understanding of how this initiative would have impacted the state,” said Elaine Georgas, president of the OACBHA Executive Council. “Her outreach was on point, as we need to make sure the patient is the top priority.”

Chief Justice O’Connor traveled the state last year and told voters how Issue 1 would negatively impact the work of judges and mental health providers tackling the state’s drug crisis.

“I may have fired the first shot. But without the army of the judiciary, prosecutors, sheriffs, all law enforcement, the business communities and, of course, the treatment community joining in to voice well-reasoning opposition, Issue 1 would have passed,” Chief Justice O’Connor told the gathering of county professionals.

Advocates pushing to pass Issue 1 on last November’s ballot were well-financed, but voters defeated the measure by a 2-1 margin, with 63 percent of voters voting it down.

“It was a pretty even fight,” Chief Justice O’Connor said with a wink. “They had $10 million, and we had about $1 million. But here’s the big difference – we had voices of the judiciary.”

She credited former Justice Paul Pfeifer, executive director of the Ohio Judicial Conference, as well as Lou Tobin, director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys’ Association. They helped mobilize judges and prosecutors to educate the public about the dangers of Issue 1.

The county behavioral health authorities in Ohio are empowered – by statute – to plan, develop, manage, and fund community-based mental health and addiction services.

Chief Justice O’Connor said the best shot judges have in getting people off drugs are the 170 state drug courts, which offer treatment-based strategies to those who are addicted.

“The drug courts are essential to getting offenders into treatment,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “It’s their only way out, and it’s our only way out too.”

State leaders, including Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, were on hand to discuss how lawmakers are responding to the crisis.

“It’s a tragic epidemic,” Householder told the gathering. “Today, every single family in Ohio is affected. My hope is we work together to find a focus” on mental illness.

Chief Justice O’Connor told the crowd that she looks forward to working with legislators and other partners to make great progress this year.

“Mental health and addiction funding, in my book, is just as important as school funding, criminal justice reform, and Medicaid expansion,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “When you think about it, all of these topics are interrelated and all require adequate funding, top-notch talent, and a Statehouse willing to prioritize.”

About the Supreme Court of Ohio

The Supreme Court is established by Article IV, Section 1 of the Ohio Constitution. Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution sets the size of the Court and outlines its jurisdiction. Article IV, Section 5 of the Constitution grants rule making and other authority to the Court.

The Supreme Court is the court of last resort in Ohio. Most of its cases are appeals from the 12 district courts of appeals. The Court may grant leave to appeal felony cases from the courts of appeals and may direct a court of appeals to certify its record in any civil or misdemeanor case that the Court finds to be "of public or great general interest."

The Supreme Court also has appellate jurisdiction in cases involving questions arising under the Ohio or United States Constitutions, cases originating in the courts of appeals, and cases in which there have been conflicting opinions on the same question from two or more courts of appeals. The Supreme Court hears all cases in which the death penalty has been imposed. These cases currently include both appeals from courts of appeals affirming imposition of the death penalty by a trial court and, for capital crimes committed on or after Jan. 1, 1995, appeals taken directly from the trial courts. Finally, the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction extends to review of the actions of certain administrative agencies, including the Public Utilities Commission.

The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to issue extraordinary writs. These include writs of habeas corpus (inquiring into the cause of an allegedly unlawful imprisonment or deprivation of custody), writs of mandamus (ordering a public official to perform a required act), writs of procedendo (compelling a lower court to proceed to judgment in a case), writs of prohibition (ordering a lower court to stop abusing or usurping judicial functions), and writs of quo warranto (issued against a person or corporation for usurpation, misuse, or abuse of public office or corporate office or franchise).

The Constitution grants the Supreme Court exclusive authority to regulate admission to the practice of law, the discipline of attorneys admitted to practice, and all other matters relating to the practice of law. In connection with this grant of authority, the Supreme Court has promulgated the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio. These rules address, among other things, admission to practice, attorney discipline, attorney registration, continuing legal education, and unauthorized practice of law.

The Constitution also gives the Supreme Court authority to prescribe rules governing practice and procedure in all courts of the state and to exercise general superintendence over all state courts. Procedural rules promulgated by the Supreme Court become effective unless both houses of the General Assembly adopt a concurrent resolution of disapproval. Rules of superintendence over state courts set minimum standards for court administration. Unlike procedural rules, rules of superintendence do not have to be submitted to the General Assembly to become effective.

In connection with all of the rules for which it has responsibility, the Supreme Court generally solicits public comment before adopting new rules or amendments in final form. The Court first publishes its rules and amendments in proposed form. These proposals appear in both the Ohio State Bar Association Reports and the Ohio Official Advance Sheets and indicate the period open for comment and the staff member to whom comments should be directed. The Court reviews all comments submitted before it decides whether to adopt or amend a rule.

Pursuant to the Constitution, the Chief Justice or a Justice designated by the Chief Justice is responsible for ruling on the disqualification of appellate and common pleas court judges. The procedure for obtaining review of a claim of disqualification against an appellate or common pleas judge is commenced by the filing of an affidavit of disqualification with the Clerk of the Supreme Court. The Revised Code contains specific requirements governing the filing of affidavits of disqualification.

Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution sets the size of the Court at seven -- a Chief Justice and six Justices, who are elected to six-year terms on a nonpartisan ballot. Two Justices are chosen at the general election in even-numbered years. In the year when the Chief Justice runs, voters pick three members of the Court.

A person must be an attorney with at least six years experience in the practice of law to be elected or appointed to the Supreme Court. Appointments are made by the Governor for vacancies that may occur between elections.

Date Published: February 20, 2019

 

Supreme Court of Ohio

 

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