Ohio Courts of Appeals: 2012 - A Year in Review


I've frequently wondered, who in the world would want to be an Ohio appellate judge. B O R I N G. For some reason, lawyers think that the best trial judges would make great appellate judges. Why would I want a great trial judge to leave a court where 100% of my practice is to go to a court where I may only have a few cases per year with them? Then, I think about the time it takes to do an appeal. Just waiting for the transcript and triple checking all the local rules consumes 50% of my time. Plus, my staff hates appeals. Just the stress of making sure everything is perfect before filing is hardly worth it.

So, why would a trial judge want to go to work at a place like this? Well, if you can get a gig in the First District, you are set. Talk about a cake walk. Only 24 decisions per judge in 2012. That is only 1 every 2 weeks! Something tells me the 1st District has the lowest golf handicap, too.

Now, if you are a law geek and want to dive in headfirst, the best Ohio appellate district for you? The 2nd District. These judges cranked out 125 decisions per judge in 2012.. That's almost as many cases as the entire 1st District dealt with in 2012. Do these judges get paid the same? Safe to say the judges in the 2nd District have the highest golf handicap.

Here are the finally tallies for the Ohio Supreme Court and 12 appellate districts for 2012 according to the Ohio Supreme Court's website.

Ohio Supreme Court: 746

Here is a quote from WWF's website:

1st District: 144 decisions (Hamilton (Cincinnati) with 6 judges = 24 decisions / judge
2nd District: 625 decisions (Champaign, Clark (Springfield), Darke, Greene, Miami, and Montgomery (Dayton) with 5 judges = 125 decisions / judge
3rd District: 209 (Allen (Lima), Auglaize, Crawford, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Logan, Marion, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Seneca, Shelby, Union, Van Wert, and Wyandot) with 4 judges = 53 decisions / judge
4th District: 220 (Adams, Athens, Gallia, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Pickaway, Pike, Ross (Chillicothe), Scioto, Vinton, and Washington) with 4 judges = 55 decisions / judge
5th District: 680 (Ashland, Coshocton, Delaware, Fairfield, Guernsey, Holmes, Knox, Licking, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Perry, Richland (Mansfield), Stark (Canton), and Tuscarawas) with 6 judges = 113 decisions / judge
6th District: 356 (Erie, Fulton, Huron, Lucas (Toledo), Ottawa, Sandusky, Williams, and Wood) with 5 judges = 71 decisions / judge
7th District: 223 (Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Jefferson, Mahoning (Youngstown), Monroe, and Noble) with 4 judges = 56 decisions / judge
8th District: 1023 (Cuyahoga (Cleveland)) with 12 judges = 85 decisions / judge
9th District: 569 (Lorain (Lorain), Medina, Summit (Akron), and Wayne) with 5 judges = 113 decisions / judge
10th District: 644 (Franklin (Columbus)) with 8 judges = 80 decisions / judge
11th District: 387 (Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Portage, and Trumbull (Warren)) with 5 judges = 77 decisions / judge
12th District: 282 (Brown, Butler (Middletown), Clermont, Clinton, Fayette, Madison, Preble, and Warren) with 5 judges = 56 decisions / judge

Some quick observations: Hamilton County lawyers need to appeal more adverse rulings. Cleveland lawyers – you are living up to your reputation as being vexatious. If you add Franklin Count and Hamilton County appeals you still need 250 cases to tie Cleveland.

Best appellate district for criminal defendants? The 8th and the 2nd. Both of those districts are defense friendly. Worst place to be a criminal defendant? Most likely the 12th. There are more Tsunamis in that district than favorable criminal defense decisions.

It will be interesting to see what the numbers tell us this time next year.