Searching for Court of Appeals Records in Ohio’s Seventh District
The Seventh Appellate District in the State of Ohio includes eight Ohio counties. These are Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Jefferson, Mahoning, Monroe, and Noble.
When a lower court case from any of these counties is appealed, the appeal is brought before the Seventh District Court of Appeals. With the exception of sealed files (a rarity), the case files for these appellate matters and the lower court cases from which they are appealed are matters of public record and can be viewed by members of the public. The clerk of courts for each of the eight counties also serves as the clerk for the Seventh District Court of Appeals to receive documents for filing. For this reason, it is a good idea to contact the Court of Appeals to verify the physical location of a court file before traveling to view it. The contact information for the court may be found here: http://www.seventh.courts.state.oh.us/contact.html. The contact information for each of the Clerks of Court may be found here: http://www.seventh.courts.state.oh.us/clerks.html .
Typically, after an appeal has been filed, the lower court case file becomes a part of the appellate file so that the judges will have access to the matters that were filed in the case before the lower court. For this reason, the appellate file will not only contain the briefs filed in the appeal by the parties and the preliminary entries and final opinion of the appellate court, but will also include the pleadings, motions, and entries filed in the case below.
Unfortunately, the Seventh District Court of Appeals does not maintain full dockets of all of its cases on its website at the moment. However, the Clerk of Courts for Mahoning County does include in its search page information about appeals taken from cases originating in Mahoning County. This search page may be found here: http://courts.mahoningcountyoh.gov/pa/pa.urd/pamw6500.display .
Fortunately, the opinions rendered by the Seventh District Court of Appeals are available online, maintained on the Ohio Supreme Court’s website. The search page may be found here: http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/rod/newpdf/ .
In searching for a Seventh District Court of Appeals opinion, first select “Seventh District Court of Appeals” in the drop-down menu next to the word “Source.” Then select The year in which you believe the opinion was rendered next to the word “Decided.” Remember that this year reflects only the year in which the Court of Appeals issued its written opinion in a matter, not the year in which the appeal was filed or even the year in which briefs were filed or oral arguments were held. Bear in mind that if such events took place late in one year, the opinion may have been issued the following year.
Next, the best way to search for a case is to input the name of one of the parties in the box marked “Full Text.” You may also input here a key word in the case that you are certain would have been referenced in the court’s opinion. Do not attempt to input the case number in the window marked “WebCite No.” This number refers to a number assigned by the database maintained by the Ohio Supreme Court, and does not correspond to the Court of Appeals case number or the case number of the case when it was before the trial court.
By checking boxes to the right, you can also select the information you wish to be returned in the list of search results. Since this list will include clickable links that take you to the opinion for each case, which will include the decided date, the case number and other important information, these boxes are not essential with the exception that “Case Name” should be checked so that you can identify that case for which you are searching.
In the search results list, the case names appear as clickable links. Clicking on these links will take you to the full opinion as issued by the Court of Appeals. If no opinion can be found and you are certain that you conducted your search correctly, it is possible that the court has not yet issued its opinion in the matter. If you suspect this is the case, it can be verified by contacting the appropriate Clerk of Court.
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