New Civil Rule 65.1 Will Change Domestic Violence Practice

Ohio’s new Civil Rule 65.1 governing civil protection orders (CPO) for domestic violence victims will take effect on July 1, 2012. It reflects and incorporates nearly 2 years of work by the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence and the Supreme Court Civil Rules Commission, including the participation of Mike Smalz of the Ohio Poverty Law Center, Alexandria Ruden of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland,  and Robin Bozian of Southeastern Ohio Legal Services.

The new rule 65.1 addresses a number of problems that have arisen under existing domestic violence laws and Civil Rule 53 governing magistrates’ proceedings, including:

  • gaps in protection for victims resulting from abusers’ filing of objections to magistrates’ orders, which trigger an automatic stay of the Full Hearing CPO;
  • lack of discovery requirements or standards protecting victims in CPO cases; and
  • conflicts between the language of the Supreme Court standard protection order forms and the literal requirements of existing Civil Rule 53 in magistrates’ proceedings as reflected in several Court of Appeals decisions.

The adoption of the new Civil Rule 65.1 will greatly impact CPO practices and procedures in Ohio because an estimated 80% of CPO cases are heard by magistrates.

Among the highlights of Civil Rule 65.1 are:

  • It governs all types of CPO cases, including domestic violence CPOs (R. C. 3113.31), stalking/sexually oriented offense CPOs (R. C. 2903. 214), and juvenile CPOs (R. C. 2151.34).
  • It supersedes and replaces existing Civil Rule 53 in prescribing CPO procedures in cases that are referred to magistrates.
  • Initial service of the CPO petition, ex parte order, and all other documents shall be made upon the respondent in accordance with Civil Rules 4 through 4.6, thereby authorizing the use of residence or certified mail service upon the respondent if efforts to obtain personal service are unsuccessful.
  • Discovery may only be had by leave of court, and the court’s discovery order must set forth the time and place of discovery; the identities of the persons permitted to be present (at a deposition) shall include any victim advocate; and “such terms and conditions deemed by the court to be necessary to assure the safety of the Petitioner, including if applicable, maintaining the confidentiality of the Petitioner’s address.”
  • The magistrate may conduct the ex parte hearing and, upon the conclusion of the hearing, may grant or deny an ex parte CPO, and, unlike other magistrates’ orders, the ex parte CPO may not be appealed by filing a motion to set aside the order.
  • After the full hearing, the magistrate may grant or deny a full hearing CPO, and the judge may then adopt, deny, or modify the full hearing CPO provided there is no error of law or other defect evident on the face of the order.
  • The full hearing CPO becomes effective when signed by the judge and filed by the clerk, and it is a final, appealable order.
  • A party may file written objections to the court’s adoption, modification, or rejection of a full hearing CPO, but the filing of objections does not stay the execution of the order.
  • Instead of filing written objections, a party may appeal the order of the court concerning the issuance of a full hearing CPO to the court of appeals.
  • The filing of objections stays the running of the time for appeal until the filing of the court’s ruling on the objections.

The full text of new Civil Rule 65.1 can be accessed by clicking here.  Once on the Final Rule Amendments page of the Ohio Supreme Court website, select “Ohio Rules of Appellate Procedure, Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure, Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure, Ohio Rules of Juvenile Procedure, and Ohio Rules of Evidence” – the correct selection has an effective date of July 1, 2012 (this link and the instructions take you to the full document describing several amendments to Ohio rules of court; rule 65.1 begins on page 43). We’ve also posted the text of the new Civil Rule 65.1 by itself on the Ohio Poverty Law Center website, here.

Any questions concerning the new Civil Rule 65.1 can be addressed to Mike Smalz of the Ohio Poverty Law Center at (614) 824-2502.

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