Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Improvements Proposed for Ohio’s Court-Appointed Lawyer System

The Ohio Supreme Court is considering a proposal to amend rules for selecting court-appointed lawyers.

Rule 8 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio currently requires courts to make sure there’s an “equitable distribution” when it comes to appointing a lawyer for an indigent criminal defendant. The proposed amendment would define equitable to include a system that would “widely” and “fairly” distribute appointments from a list of pre-qualified lawyers.

Also included in the proposed amendment is a set of five factors a court must take into account when making appointments:

  1. The complexity of the case
  2. Any language, educational, or other challenges facing the defendant
  3. The relevant experience of the attorney
  4. The avoidance of any conflicts of interest or other situations that could delay the case
  5. Intangible factors, including a potential appointee’s commitment to providing timely, quality representation to the client.

The rule amendments were proposed by the Advisory Committee on Case Management Subcommittee on Court Appointments with input from lawyers and judges, and are meant to allow Ohio judges to retain local control over appointments while encouraging best practices and improving the current system.

The Supreme Court will take written comments until Dec. 24, 2015, addressed to:

Tasha Ruth, manager, Case Management Section
Supreme Court of Ohio
65 South Front Street, 6th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3431

Please include your full name and mailing address in any comments submitted by email.

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