Mayor’s Courts

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What are mayor’s courts? Mayor’s courts are local courts that hear traffic and local ordinance violations. They are relics of the past – only Ohio and Louisiana still have them.

What’s the problem with mayor’s courts? Mayor’s courts are geared toward making money rather than delivering justice. In 2016, municipalities with mayor’s courts issued one out of every six traffic tickets in Ohio. Unlike municipal courts, mayor’s courts are not courts of record, which means there are no audio recordings or transcripts of what happens in mayor’s courts. This lack of transparency and accountability creates a breeding ground for coercive tactics used to collect fines and fees. To make matters worse, mayors or magistrates who hear cases in mayor’s court are only required to have six hours of training per year, and even less in some cases.

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The ACLU is committed to making mayor’s courts fair, transparent, and accountable to the public.



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