On September 15, 2015, the Supreme Court of Ohio unanimously granted a writ prohibiting the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas and its Administrative Judge from enforcing orders requiring the Lorain County Commissioners to appropriate funds to the Sheriff for security at the Court’s adult probation and presentence investigation facilities. The Supreme Court held that the Court of Common Pleas patently and unambiguously lacked jurisdiction to issue and enforce these funding orders because there was no lawsuit between the Sheriff and the Commissioners pending before the Court when the funding orders were issued. In addressing the Administrative Judge’s arguments that the orders were administrative orders for the Court’s administrative expenses which the Court had authority to issue and enforce, the Supreme Court held that these funding orders were not administrative because they ordered the Commissioners to make an appropriation to the Sheriff for the purpose of providing security. The Supreme Court further held that the Court’s order providing the Commissioners the option to pay the funds to the Court so the Court could pay the Sheriff did not make the order an administrative order.
Rob Cahill, lead counsel for the Lorain County Commissioners who joined Sutter O’Connell earlier this month, explained that this ruling is important to county commissioners across the state because the Supreme Court’s decision affirms the legislative branch’s independence, autonomy, and exclusive power as the funding authority of the government and works as a check against courts exceeding their authority. Click here to read the Supreme Court’s opinion.