Overview of Court

Outside photo of courthouseWith jurisdiction over Cuyahoga County, the Eighth Appellate District is the largest and one of the busiest appellate courts in Ohio. Randomly assigned, its twelve judges sit on three-judge panels. Weekly, nine or more cases are allocated to each panel for review. Each judge reads the briefs filed by the parties, reviews the lower court record, and with the aid of legal staff, conducts research on the issues presented.

Oral arguments are primarily scheduled for Tuesdays and Wednesdays, most weeks throughout the year, with each side given 15 minutes to present its case. Twenty-seven or more cases are scheduled for hearing in three courtrooms, all of which are open to the public. The court calendar contains a schedule for upcoming hearings. Following oral arguments, the judges conference the cases. One of the judges is randomly selected to write an opinion, which states the ruling of the panel and contains an analysis of the legal issues and the reasons underlying the decision. If one of the judges on the panel does not agree with the decision, he or she may write a dissenting opinion, which is released with that of the majority. Opinions are released weekly, generally on Thursdays.

A party dissatisfied with a decision may appeal it to the Ohio Supreme Court. However, unlike an appeals court that accepts every case, the Ohio Supreme Court generally has the discretion to accept or decline an appeal. On average, the Supreme Court accepts only about ten percent of those cases. As a result, the Eighth District Appellate Court is the court of last resort for the majority of civil and criminal litigants in Cuyahoga County.

The Main Courtroom of the Eighth Appellate District, located on the second floor off the Great Hall of the Cuyahoga County Court House, is one of the most impressive in Ohio. Completed in 1912, it has remained virtually unchanged and retains a timeless elegance. Visitors are welcome between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm except when the Court is in session. Occasionally tours will meet the judges who are always delighted to answer questions about the court and its history.