What is a Magistrate?

About The Court

In Ohio, magistrates are licensed attorneys appointed by the judges of many municipal courts, domestic relations and juvenile courts, and some courts of appeals and common pleas courts.  In addition, to avoid any conflict of interest, most communities with mayor’s courts have magistrates preside over sessions, rather than the mayors themselves. Ohio magistrates do virtually everything judges do.  Each Magistrate may (1) issue subpoenas; (2) rule on the admissibility of evidence; and (3) place witnesses under oath and examine them.  Their actions are subject to review and either approval, modification or reversal by judges of their court. All Magistrates’ decisions are reviewed and approved by the Judge assigned to the case. When approved, the Magistrate’s decision becomes a permanent order of the Judge.  The exception is mayor’s court magistrates. Upon the timely notice of appeal from a conviction in a Mayor’s Court, the proceeding before either the county or municipal court of the county in which the community is located is de novo.  Magistrates are available to answer procedural and other questions but may not discuss a case with either a litigant or attorney in the absence of the other party (or that party’s attorney) to the case.  The Montgomery County Juvenile Court employs twelve magistrates to hear various types of cases.