- Does the Judge Perform marriage ceremonies?
- The Judge may perform a marriage ceremony for you at the Vermilion Municipal Courthouse depending on scheduling. Call the Vermilion Municipal Court to speak with the clerk to schedule an appointment for the ceremony. You must obtain your marriage license (from the Probate Court in the county in which you live) prior to the scheduled marriage ceremony and have it with you on the day of the marriage. The Judge does not accept gratuities for this service.
- I was just called for Jury Duty and don't want to serve. How can I get released from this commitment?
- Jury duty is a privilege, not a chore, and it is important that the Court have citizens who are willing to
serve on juries. However, the Judge MAY excuse someone from jury duty under certain circumstances:
- The person is physically unable to serve;
- The person is contending with a serious illness in the immediate family;
- The person has served as a juror within the last year.
- The person will not physically be in the jurisdiction during the time of trial.
- If you have circumstances not among those listed above which you believe could create serious complications and make you unable to serve as a juror, please contact the Court.
- I was called for jury duty and don't want to take the time out from raising my children at home to perform this service. Can my children come to court with me?
- Jurors are given ample notice of a jury trial and have the opportunity to make child care arrangements for small children. There are no facilities in the Vermilion Municipal Court for child care, and therefore you are not able to bring small children with you to court on the day of a trial.
Court Fines and Community Service
- Can I elect to serve my fine and court costs out through community service?
- Court costs should be paid to the court at the completion of your case. The Judge may order that you perform community service instead of, or IN ADDITION TO a fine. The choice is the Court's, not the Defendant's.
- If I can't pay my fine and court costs on time, can I get an extension?
- If a situation arises that creates problems in prompt payment, call the court and ask for an extension. The clerks will review your request with the Judge and contact you regarding your request.
- Does the court accept credit cards as payment on fines?
- Yes. You may give the clerks your credit card (VISA, Discover & MasterCard only, please) to pay your fines on the day your case is settled.
Talking to the Judge or Prosecutor
- Can I make an appointment to talk to the Judge about my case?
- The Judge is not allowed to speak to anyone concerning cases pending in the court except on scheduled pretrial, trial or hearing dates. Generally, the Judge will speak only to the attorneys involved in the case, or only to the parties directly involved in a case if there are not attorneys.
- How can I get to see the Prosecutor?
- Please call (440) 204-2462 for an appointment.
Forcible Entry and Detainer Actions (Evictions)
- What is an eviction?
- An eviction, also called Forcible Entry and Detainer Action, is a court action filed to retake possession of rental property. Ohio law requires that a hearing be held in eviction cases to determine whether the landlord or the tenant has the right to have possession of the rental property. If the landlord's complaint also asks the Court for money damages, a second hearing may be set by the Court to determine if money is owed.
- A sample eviction complaint can be found on the forms section of this web site.
Filing a Small Claim Complaint
- How do I file a Small Claim Complaint?
- Small Claim Complaint forms may be obtained at the Court. The filing fee is $50.00. When the case is filed it will be set for hearing in approximately 30 days. After the case is processed, you will receive a copy in the mail with the hearing date and time, along with your receipt.
Collecting on an Awarded Judgment
- How do I collect on a judgment I was awarded?
- The Court is not a collection agency and cannot collect a judgment for you. There are post judgment actions you can take through the Court (i.e. wage garnishments, bank account attachments, etc.) to collect on a judgment. The Court cannot advise you on what steps to take.
How to Handle a Small Claims Case
- 1. What is a Small Claims Case?
- Small Claims Court is a proceeding in which civil claims up to $6,000.00 are resolved in sometimes, an informal manner.
- 2. Who are the parties in a Small Claims Case?
- The parties are Plaintiff(s)-the person or company who filed the lawsuit, and the Defendant(s)-the person or company sued by the Plaintiff. Small claims permits the use of a less formal procedure, but do not relax the legal requirements to properly and correctly identify the parties. It is the Plaintiff's responsibility to name the Defendant correctly. If you name the wrong Defendant, the Court may dismiss the case and you would have to start the process over.
- 3. How is a Small Claims Case started?
- The clerks in the court office can provide you with the forms you need to file a small claims case.
- What does the Court Clerk do?
- A court clerk can answer general questions about the Court, give you information from your case file, provide information on the status of your case and explain the fees involved and court dates. However, a clerk cannot give a legal opinion or give legal advice, withhold information on the case, tell you how to fill out the forms, recommend a specific attorney, talk to the Judge about your case or allow you to talk to the Judge alone.
- 5. What happens when I come to Court?
- When your name is called, go to the front of the courtroom. A small claims is normally scheduled for 15-20 minutes. Some cases may go longer. You should be prepared to wait if the cases heard prior to yours take longer than anticipated.
- To prepare your case, you should have all of your witnesses and three copies of your evidence (e.g. photographs, bills, receipts, contracts, estimates, etc.) available and ready to present to the court on the day of the trial. The court will not consider evidence that you say is available but have forgotten to bring with you. It may be helpful to have a list of evidence that you want to present. You should decide ahead of time the main points of your case and you should stick to those points when telling your side of the story. As you cover each point, present the evidence that supports that point. A written outline of those points, in chronological order, will help you stay focused on your case. However, you should not write out everything you want to say.
- When it is your turn to present your case, remain calm and focused. The first thing you need to say is why you are there. Tell the Judge what happened and in the order it happened. Present enough information to the court to make your position clear. If the Judge needs to clarify a detail, he may ask you questions about your testimony.
- In addition to written evidence, you should also bring any witnesses who have knowledge of the facts. People who saw the event or who have a special knowledge of the issues should be in the courtroom when your case is called if you plan to use them as a witness. All witnesses should present themselves and their testimony in an objective and professional manner.
- The Judge will listen to both sides and make a decision based on the evidence and testimony presented and the credibility of the parties. If you do not speak English, you are responsible for supplying an interpreter. If you have difficulty speaking English, you should consider bringing someone else with you to help you communicate with the court more effectively. Remember that the court wants to hear your side of the case in as professional and unemotional a manner as possible.
- 6. If I win how do I collect?
- There are various ways to collect judgments but the most common are garnishment of bank accounts and garnishment of wages. The Clerk's Office has the necessary forms.
- If I lose, can I appeal?
- The Rules of Appellate Procedure set forth the information on how to file an appeal of your decision. Generally speaking, all appeals must be filed within thirty (30) days after the court makes its judgment.