Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Judicial Committee of Constitutional Group Issues Final Report

The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission’s judicial committee has issued a final report containing four recommendations with one centered on grand juries.

The Judicial Branch and Administration of Justice Committee reviewed Ohio Constitutional provisions in Article I (Bill of Rights) and Article IV (Judicial). Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith L. French briefly served on the committee, while Justice Patrick F. Fischer served as committee vice chairman.

The committee proposed creating a new section (Article I, Section 10b) to provide an independent legal adviser to grand juries and to provide transcripts of prior grand jury testimony to any trial witness.

In a letter to the commission co-chairs, committee chair Janet Gilligan Abaray called the revisions important and those “that should be seriously considered in any future discussions about improvements to our criminal justice system.”

The grand jury recommendations were never considered by the commission, which was abolished in the new state budget bill. Other recommendations were overwhelmingly adopted. Those committee recommendations included:

  • Retaining the writ of habeas corpus (Article I, Section 8). Embedded in the 1802 Ohio Constitution, the writ commands a person detaining someone to produce the prisoner or detainee. The committee recommended no changes.
  • Repealing Courts of Conciliation (Article IV, Section 19). Embedded in the 1851 Ohio Constitution, the language was intended to resolve disputes without resorting to the traditional legal process. The committee found the provision obsolete because of available alternative dispute resolution methods.
  • Repealing the Supreme Court Commission (Article IV, Section 22). Adopted by Ohio voters in 1875 to alleviate Supreme Court case backlog, the committee found the provision obsolete.


Commission Examining Potential Changes to the Ohio Constitution

Chief Justice O’Connor Asks State Constitution Commission to Consider Moving Judicial Elections to Odd Years

Justice O’Neill Testifies About Judicial Election Reform Before Constitutional Commission

Judges Fischer, French Appointed to Constitution Commission

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