The Ohio Supreme Court has a few great mysteries. A recurring one is how long you’ll have to wait to determine whether your case will be accepted as a discretionary appeal. The court generally calls such cases jurisdictionals. Jurisdictional memoranda are similar to a petition for a writ of certiorari at the U.S. Supreme Court in that you describe why the court should review the case. But, there is one difference: The U.S. Supreme Court announces in advance when a decision will be issued on the petition for a writ of cert. The Ohio Supreme Court, in contrast, provides no such advance warning — it’s a surprise.

Consequently, one of the first questions a client asks when confronted with a jurisdictional at the Ohio Supreme Court is, “How long will it take to find out?” The answer, over time, has been, “It depends.” Generally, it takes within 90 days. But, there are occasions when an editor of this blog has waited more than 180 days for decisions on whether the court will accept discretionary review.

Fresh statistics on jurisdictionals             

Here at Ohio Appellate Insights, we work hard to remove some of that unpredictability. We have been logging and analyzing Ohio Supreme Court jurisdictional decisions since September 2021. Our team is ready to roll out the first in a series of regular reporting.

Between Sept. 28 and Dec. 28, 2021, the Supreme Court announced decisions on 290 jurisdictionals. These broke down to 110 civil cases (38%) and 180 criminal cases (62%). The Supreme Court accepted 25 of the cases. We’ll get into the actual percentages and breakdown of the acceptances in a later post.

The statistics demonstrate that something is causing a differential in timing between civil and criminal jurisdictionals:

In general, based on the statistics from the last quarter of 2021, the court considers whether to accept civil jurisdictionals for a longer amount of time than criminal jurisdictionals. Where a response memorandum is waived, the Ohio Supreme Court considers civil jurisdictionals for an average of 90 days. But, criminal jurisdictionals are only considered for 70 days.

What is causing this difference in treatment is not yet clear. It’s a mystery we will continue to track and share with you in subsequent reporting posts.