Ninth District Court of Appeals - 100 Years
The First Opinions of the Ninth District Court of Appeals
The newly-created Ninth District Court of Appeals, which you can read more about below, released its first opinions on November 11, 1921. On that first release day, the Ninth District Court of Appeals issued a total of nine opinions.
The format of the opinions has not changed much in the last 100 years. Those old opinions are preserved in bound volumes in the Ninth District's library. The first opinion in the first volume is Brown v. Heintz, 9th Dist. Summit No. 507 (Nov. 11, 1921). This is what the opinion looked like, and you can click on the picture to open a PDF if you would like to read the Ninth District's first opinion.
The Ninth District released opinions in November and December of 1921. After starting with nine opinions on its first release day, the Court issued four more opinions in November 2021. In December 2021, the Court released seven more opinions.
In 1921, covering less than two months, the Court released 20 opinions. Of those 20, 17 involved civil cases. The other three decisions released in 1921 were from criminal cases.
During that same time period, and those same 20 cases, 18 of the cases originated in Summit County. Of the two remaining cases, one was from Lorain County and the other was from Medina County. Although there were no decisions from Wayne County in 1921, January 1922 turned out to be Wayne County's month. The Ninth District released 15 opinions in January 1922. Ten of those were from Wayne County, three from Lorain County, and two from Summit County. But that is jumping ahead from where the Ninth District Court of Appeals started in 1921.
The Creation of the Ninth District Court of Appeals
The Ninth District Court of Appeals marks the 100th anniversary of its creation and first opinion in 2021.
Courts of appeals have been around since the Ohio Constitution was adopted in 1851. At that time, the five district courts included one Ohio Supreme Court justice and the common pleas judges within the jurisdiction of the district. About 30 years later, constitutional amendments replaced the district courts with circuit courts, with circuit court judges elected to serve on each circuit. The General Assembly enacted legislation to establish seven circuits with three judges on each.
The boundaries of the circuits were changed after just a few years, as shown in the following map.
Later amendments to the Ohio Constitution changed the circuit name to courts of appeal. The General Assembly divided the state into appellate districts separated along county lines.
In 1921, the General Assembly adopted legislation to designate Cuyahoga County as the Eighth District.
That legislation also created a new Ninth District consisting of Lorain, Medina, and Summit Counties, from the former Eighth District, and Wayne County, from the Fifth District.
Although there have been other changes since then, including the creation of the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Districts, the Ninth Districtís geographic composition has not changed in the 100 years since it was created. Other than moving to new locations, the only significant change has been the addition of two judges in the 1980s, bringing the Ninth District to its current five judges.
If you would like to learn more about the history of Ohioís appellate courts, the 2001 Appellate District Study Committee Final Report, is an excellent resource (and is the source of some of the information and the maps above).