Civil Practice Guidelines
CIVIL STALKING OR SEXUALLY ORIENTED OFFENSE PROTECTION ORDER CASES
Litigants are expected to act in a respectful manner. Please refer to the Magistrate as your honor, sir/ma'am or your magistrate.
Courtroom Decorum and Dress
All litigants are expected to wear appropriate attire in the courtroom. No shorts or t-shirts are allowed. Shoes are required. If you are not wearing the appropriate attire you may be barred from coming into the courtroom so please dress appropriately.
No Contact with Other Parties or Witnesses
Parties are to have no contact with the other party or the other parties’ witnesses outside of the courtroom. Please follow the instructions of the deputy or the magistrate’s assistant if they give you specific instructions as to where to sit to avoid any conflicts or arguments.
Please do not bring young children to court. Please obtain a babysitter prior to any hearings. Children will not be allowed in the courtroom as all matters are tape recorded and the court must not be interrupted.
Requests for Continuances
Continuances may be requested to obtain additional information, witnesses or for a party to hire an attorney. Typically, a case will only be continued once, and the parties should thereafter be prepared to go forward with a full hearing.
Pro se Litigants (unrepresented by an attorney) and Useful Information
Unrepresented parties may not speak to the magistrate, outside of the courtroom, alone about their case. Please contact the magistrate’s assistant concerning any questions. The magistrate’s assistant is not an attorney and s/he will not give you legal advice. Please contact an attorney if you need legal advice and this includes, but is not limited to, questions about presentation of the case in the courtroom.
A litigant is responsible for bringing into court any documentation that they wish for the magistrate to consider. Please make three (3) copies of all exhibits (it is suggested you make an additional copy for your records or for review during the hearing). Police reports from the unofficial website will not be accepted in court. Cards given to a party by a police officer often contain the number to retrieve a police report. The court will not obtain the records for a litigant so a card will not suffice. Please bring to the full hearing verifiable police reports that are certified by the division that the report was made (not the unofficial website for the police). You may go to the specific police station with which you made a report and request a certified copy of the police report. You may also obtain a certified copy of any pending criminal charges or case information from the Criminal Clerk of Courts with the City of Columbus and/or the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Clerk of Courts, Criminal Division.
You may subpoena any witnesses you wish to be present at the full hearing. Subpoenas are available at the Franklin County Clerk of Courts, Civil Division, located on the 1st floor of 345 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215. Signed affidavits, from witnesses, will not be accepted. Witnesses must appear in court for their testimony to be considered.
Please be prepared for the full evidentiary hearing. Please be specific about dates and times of any incidents about which you may testify.
Settlement of Case
Options for settlement, such as Respondent waiving the hearing, may be provided for consideration of the parties at the date of the hearing. If a party wants legal advice they should obtain an attorney prior to the evidentiary hearing.
Recording Equipment, Text Messages, Video Camera Tapes, Voice Messages, etc.
All information provided to the court may become public record. The parties are responsible for bringing the proper equipment to court to play voice messages, videotapes, etc. Text messages or other written communications should be printed from a computer onto a paper copy for the court’s convenience – please be aware that a party’s phone could be taken into evidence if proper support of evidence is needed. Parties should make copies of voice messages and digital pictures for the court’s consideration. Parties should also make at least three (3) copies of all exhibits to avoid delay in the courtroom. Trial notebooks should be prepared when providing the court with several exhibits for consideration.
A time stamped copy (by the Franklin County Clerk of Courts, Civil Division) of all motions should be delivered to the judge and magistrate when filed as a matter of courtesy.
Please make copies of all exhibits, a litigant wishes to present to the court, prior to the full evidentiary hearing. All exhibits admitted into the record are shown to the other litigant and the exhibits are made public record. (You will not get the exhibit back if admitted for purposes of the hearing and/or record). Please have three (3) copies of all the exhibits to avoid delays in the courtroom (it is suggested that a litigant make a 4th copy for their own records or use during the hearing.)