Searching for Court of Appeals Records in Ohio’s Fifth District
The Fifth Appellate District in the State of Ohio includes fifteen counties. These are Ashland, Coshocton, Delaware, Fairfield, Guernsey, Holmes, Knox, Licking, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Perry, Richland, Stark and Tuscarawas. Any case appealed from trial courts in these fifteen Ohio counties will be reviewed by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District. Apart from the rare sealed case, these files are matters of public record and may be viewed by members of the public.
When a trial court case is appealed to the Fifth District Court of Appeals, the file from the trial court matter will be integrated into the Court of Appeals file. This means that the Court of Appeals file will not only include briefs filed by the parties, the final Opinion, and any preliminary motions or entries filed before the Court of Appeals. Instead, the Court of Appeals file will also include all pleadings, motions, entries, orders and judgments filed while the matter was pending before the trial court.
Since the Fifth District Court of Appeals services fifteen counties, it has a Clerk of Court in each county that can receive filings. Contact information for each of these clerks may be found at the Fifth District Court of Appeals website, on this page: http://www.fifthdist.org/clerks.htm .
Since there are so many Clerks of Court that can receive filings for the Court of Appeals, it is a good idea to contact the Clerks’ offices to verify the location of the desired file before you attempt to travel to one of the offices to view a file in person. It is a good idea to begin with the Clerk in the same county where you believe the matter was heard by a trial court before being appealed.
If you wish to observe an oral argument pertaining to a Court of Appeals case, the schedule for matters before the court can be found here: http://www.fifthdist.org/schedule.htm .
Note that the Court travels due to the large number of counties included in the Fifth District. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that you are aware of the county in which the Court is sitting before traveling to observe an oral argument scheduled for that day.
Unfortunately, the Fifth District Court of Appeals does not at this time maintain a searchable database on its website that will allow you to search the dockets for all of the appellate cases pending before the court. However, some of the Clerks of Court for the individual counties in the Fifth District maintain searchable databases that also include Court of Appeals cases originating from that county. These include
Ashland County http://www.ashlandcountycpcourt.org/ ,
Delaware County http://www.delawarecountyclerk.org/ ,
Guernsey County http://184.108.40.206/pa/ ,
Licking County http://www.lcounty.com/clerkofcourts/
Richland County http://www.richlandcountyoh.us/,
Stark County http://www.starkclerk.org/ and
Tuscarawas County http://www.co.tuscarawas.oh.us/.
To search by date for a recent Opinion rendered by the Fifth District Court of Appeals, begin at the main page of the Fifth District Court of Appeals website, found here: http://www.fifthdist.org/ . Then click on the option marked “Opinions.” This will take you to a list of links for the weeks from July 2006 to the present. Clicking on one of these links will take you to a page where the cases are divided by type and identified by case name. Each case name is a clickable link that will take you to the Opinion for that case.
If you wish instead to search for an older opinion or if you are not certain which week an Opinion was rendered and need to search by name, begin at the search page maintained by the Ohio Supreme Court, found here: http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/rod/newpdf/?source=5 .
Then select “Fifth District Court of Appeals” in the drop-down menu next to the word Source and then select the year the opinion was rendered next to the word “Decided.” Finally, input the name of a party or a key word that you are certain is in the Opinion, next to the words Full Text. Do not attempt to input the case name next to “WebCite No.,” since this option actually refers to a different number assigned in the database maintained by the Ohio Supreme Court and is not related to the case number.
Search results will be returned in a list including the name of the case. These names are clickable links and clicking on them will allow you to view the Opinion for that case which will also include the case number or numbers for that case and the date the Opinion was rendered. If there is no Opinion to be found for a case, it is possible that no Opinion has been rendered in that case yet. If you suspect this is the case, it can be verified by contacting the appropriate Clerk of Court.
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