Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Practice and Procedure Rule Proposals Filed with General Assembly

A series of proposed changes to the practices and procedures rules for Ohio courts have been filed with the General Assembly for final consideration. Unless the General Assembly adopts a concurrent resolution of disapproval, the rules go into effect on July 1.

The amendments are the result of an annual review of all rules governing practice and procedure in Ohio court by the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on the Rules of Practice & Procedure, which includes two rounds of public comment.

The proposed amendments include:

  • Revised rules for reopening of an appeal based on ineffective counsel.
  • Updates to procedures for serving documents in civil cases.
  • Clarification of timing of post-arrest events.
  • Providing a standard for when testimony is “expert testimony.”
  • Requiring notification to victims in certain situations in Juvenile Courts.

Appellate Rules
Changes to Appellate rule 26 expand the category of people who may apply for reopening their appeal based on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.  Currently, App.R. 26(B) allows a “defendant in a criminal case” to make such an application.  (See In re T.A., 2022-Ohio-4173).  A technical correction to the rule also ensures the consistent spelling of the word “judgment.”

Rules for Civil Cases
The amendments make several changes to Civil Rules 4(D), 4.1 4.7, 30, and 45. Changes to Civ.R. 4(D)(1) and 4.7 would clarify that the general authority for waiver of service under Civ.R. 4(D) applies in domestic relations and civil protection order cases.  The revisions make clear that an attorney may sign a waiver of service for his or her client. The amendment also requires an individual signing a waiver on their own behalf to provide an address for future service under Civ.R. 5.

Additional changes include limiting depositions to one day of seven hours, clarifying who may serve a subpoena in a civil case, and limiting the signatures for accepting service by mail to the person accepting the delivery.

Evidence Rules
The first change to Evidence Rule 101 corrected a cross reference. Evidence Rule 702 includes changes to add a preponderance of the evidence standard for expert witness qualification.  The rule currently states the criteria that must be satisfied for a witness to testify as an expert.  However, the rule is silent as to the standard of proof for that criteria.  The amendment adds the criteria must be shown as “more likely than not.”  The amendment also requires that the expert witness’s opinion must reflect a reliable application of the principles and methods to the facts of the case. These changes mirror an amendment to the rule’s federal counterpart, Fed. R. Evid. 702, which took effect December 1, 2023.

Rules for Juvenile Courts
An amendment to Juvenile Rule 9 adds language requiring the Juvenile court to notify the prosecuting attorney and the victim of the offense if formal court action is avoided. This change is in recognition of and compliance with Article I, Section 10a of the Ohio Constitution (Eff. 2017) and the corresponding statutory provisions, known as “Marsy’s Law.”