About the Court of Common Pleas
The court of common pleas, the only trial court created by the Ohio Constitution, is established by Article IV, Section 1, of the Constitution, and its duties are outlined in Article IV, Section 4.
There is a court of common pleas in each of Ohio's 88 counties. Specific courts of common pleas may be divided into separate divisions by the General Assembly, including general, domestic relations, juvenile and probate divisions. Common pleas judges are elected to six-year terms on a nonpartisan ballot. A person must be an attorney with at least six years of experience in the practice of law to be elected or appointed to the court.
Unlike the other divisions, judges on the General Division have what is called "general jurisdiction" to hear civil and criminal cases. Under Ohio law Municipal courts have jurisdiction to hear civil cases with a value of up to $15,000.00; Common Pleas civil jurisdiction has no upper limit. Criminal jurisdiction includes all crimes defined by statute as felonies, as well as certain other criminal offenses.