By Anne Yeager
Court News Ohio


The Ohio Supreme Court will accept public comment on proposed amendments for the annual update to the Rules of Practice and Procedure. Several of the proposals intend to modernize courts and maximize the use of technology.

The Court seeks comment on proposed changes to the Civil, Criminal, Evidence, Juvenile, and Traffic rules. These proposals largely come from the recent report of the Supreme Court’s iCourt Task Force, which was charged with studying and proposing best practices in using technology for court operations.

These proposals include:

• Allowing the option for parties, attorneys, and witnesses to appear remotely, when appropriate, in certain court proceedings;

• Requiring courts to provide some option for parties to file pleadings electronically, either through an e-filing portal, email, fax, or other options; and

• Allowing discovery to be exchanged electronically to lessen the burden and cost of preparing for civil cases.

The Court also seeks comment on a proposal to the Ohio Criminal Rules that would require a criminal defendant to provide written notice at least two weeks before trial of their intention to put forth evidence of self-defense. Another proposal would allow for electronic citations to be used in misdemeanor cases.

The Court also will accept comment on changes to the Ohio Rules of Evidence. One change would amend how and when jurors can provide testimony following a criminal case. This change was proposed to conform with recent federal case law.

Finally, the Court seeks comment on proposals to the Ohio Juvenile Rules that would amend the time frame in which certain abuse, neglect, or dependency cases are heard. This change was made to conform with recent legislative changes.

According to the Ohio Constitution, an initial draft of proposed amendments to rules of procedure must be filed with the General Assembly by Jan. 15, 2022. A final draft must be filed by May 1, 2022, for the amendments to take effect on July 1, 2022. The Court will accept a second round of public comment after the Jan. 15 filing date.

Publication of these proposed amendments for public comment at this time does not imply that the Supreme Court endorses or will approve for filing with the General Assembly any or all of the proposed amendments.

Public comment should be submitted in writing or via email by Nov. 4 to:

Jesse Mosser
Legislative Counsel
Supreme Court of Ohio
65 S. Front St., Seventh Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
or ruleamendments@sc.ohio.gov.