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EDITOR'S NOTE: The Mayor has jurisdiction to hear and determine any prosecution for the violation of a Municipal ordinance, and has jurisdiction in all criminal causes involving moving traffic violations occurring on State highways located within the corporate limits, subject to the right of the defendant to trial by jury and before an impartial magistrate. Ohio R.C. 2945.17 provides that an accused has a right to be tried by a jury at any trial in any court for the violation of any Ohio statute or of any Municipal ordinance, except in cases in which the penalty involved does not exceed a fine of one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00). Ohio R.C. 2937.08 and Criminal Rule 23(A) provide that if the court in which a defendant is charged with an offense is not a court of record (the Mayor's Court), and the charge is such that a right to a jury trial exists, such matter shall not be tried before him and shall be transferred to a court of record in the County if the defendant:
(a) Does not waive his right to trial by jury in a serious offense case for which the penalty established by laws includes confinement for more than six months, or
(b) Demands a jury trial in a petty offense case in which the penalty prescribed is a fine greater than one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) and/or imprisonment for not more than six months. "Such demand must be in writing and filed with the clerk of court not less than ten days prior to the date set for trial, or on or before the third day following receipt of notice of the date set for trial, whichever is later. Failure to demand a jury trial as provided in this subdivision is a complete waiver of the right thereto."
In Ward v. Village of Monroeville, Ohio, 93 S. Ct. 80 (1972), the United States Supreme Court held that where the mayor before whom the defendant was compelled to stand trial was responsible for municipal finances and the mayor's court provided a substantial portion of municipal revenues, defendant was denied a trial before a disinterested and impartial magistrate as guaranteed by the due process clause of the United States Constitution.
The Supreme Court of Ohio has adopted the "Ohio Traffic Rules" which prescribe the procedure to be followed in the Mayor's Court in traffic cases. Rule 9(A) thereof states the jury demand shall be made pursuant to Criminal Rule 23 referred to above. Rule 9(B) sets forth the conditions under which the Mayor may hear a traffic case incorporating therein the holding in Ward v. Village of Monroeville as further interpreted in State, ex rel. Brockman v. Procter, 35 Ohio St. 2d 79 (1973): "Where, in a mayor's court, a defendant is entitled to a jury trial and a jury demand is made pursuant to Criminal Rule 23, the Mayor shall transfer the case pursuant to subdivision (C). If a jury demand is not made pursuant to Criminal Rule 23, and (or?) the defendant waives his right to jury trial in writing, a mayor may try the case if (1) his compensation as a judge is not directly dependent upon criminal case convictions, or (2) he is not the chief executive and administrative officer of the municipality and as such responsible for the financial condition of the municipality. Guilty and no contest pleas may be taken by any mayor including mayors whose compensation as a judge is directly dependent upon criminal case convictions and mayors who as chief executive and administrative officer of the municipality are responsible for the financial condition of the municipality."
The procedure for transferring a case to a court of record is set forth in Rule 9(C): "Where a transfer is required, the mayor's court shall make a written order directing the defendant to appear at the transferee court, continuing the same bail, if any, and making appearance before the transferee court a condition of bail, if any. Upon transfer, the mayor's court shall transmit to the clerk of the transferee court the ticket and all other papers in the case, and any bail taken in the case. Upon receipt of such papers the clerk of the transferee court shall set the case for trial and shall notify the defendant by ordinary mail of his trial date."
Rule 13 provides that a court shall establish a traffic violation bureau and specifies certain restrictions as to the designated offenses and schedule of fines to be accepted as waiver payment in lieu of court appearance.
Disposition of fines and costs - see Ohio R.C. 733.40
Mayor's powers and duties - see Ohio R.C. 1905.20 et seq.
Trial - see Ohio R.C. Ch. 2938
Notification to Director of liquor law convictions - see Ohio R.C. 4301.991
Record of traffic violations - see Ohio R.C. 4513.37