The Ohio Seventh District Court of Appeals is one of twelve districts in Ohio and include eight counties and their court systems. The counties consist of: Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Jefferson, Mahoning, Monroe, and Noble.
The Ohio Courts of Appeals were established in 1851 by Article IV, Section 1, of the Ohio Constitution and their jurisdiction is outlined in Article IV, Section 3, of the Ohio Constitution.
The primary function of the Ohio Courts of Appeals is to hear appeals from the common pleas courts (except cases in which the death penalty was imposed for offenses committed after January 1, 1996), municipal courts, county courts, Court of Claims, Board of Tax Appeals and other administrative agencies within their districts. Courts of appeals have jurisdiction to review the judgments of these trial courts and to affirm, modify, reverse, or enter final judgments. In addition to their appellate jurisdiction, the Ohio Courts of Appeals have original jurisdiction to hear applications for writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, procedendo, prohibition, and quo warranto.
Judges of the court of appeals are elected by the voters in the court's district. There are 69 court of appeals judges statewide. Each is elected to a six year term on a non-partisan ballot in even numbered years. Vacancies on a court of appeals between elections are filled by an appointment by the Ohio Governor. The court travels so that cases are heard in each of the district's eight counties.
Cases before the court of appeals are heard by three-judge panels. The panels are randomly selected for each case. The court's decision in a case takes the form of a written opinion. The agreement of at least two judges is required for the court to make a decision. A judge who does not agree may write a dissenting opinion giving that judge's reasons why that judge would have decided the appeal differently.
Attorneys for all litigants have previously submitted to the court written briefs on the applicable law. The briefs contain written arguments on how the law should be applied given the facts in the case. Each judge on the panel has read the briefs, and has referred to the record in the case. The record consists of copies of all of the filings in the case, as well as a transcript of what was presented to the trial court. A written opinion is usually issued within sixty days of the oral argument.
The decision of the court of appeals may be appealed to the Supreme Court of Ohio. Unlike the Courts of Appeals, the Supreme Court does not have to accept an appeal, save and except death penalty appeals. The Supreme Court will hear cases of great public interest that affect a great number of citizens of our state or a case that presents an Ohio constitutional question. Also, if there is a conflict of opinion on a legal issue between appellate courts of the state, the Supreme Court will hear the case to resolve said issue.