Date Thesis Awarded

5-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Government

Advisor

Jackson Sasser

Committee Members

Chrsitine Nemacheck

Ingo Keilitz

Abstract

This thesis provides a primer on mayor’s courts in Ohio, assesses common claims about the problems they create and the benefits they provide, and recommends reforms to improve mayor’s courts throughout the state. These local courts suffer from two primary problems: money’s perverse and pervasive influence and a lack of of transparency and oversight that makes identifying misbehavior difficult. But they also have the potential to provide a more personal, flexible adjudication process. Mayor’s courts are also much closer to the communities they serve than alternative courts would be; that fact is proven by geospatial analysis that, for the first time, estimates the actual extent of mayor’s courts’ proximity advantage. Instead of abandoning a system with so much potential, the Ohio General Assembly should 1) divorce fundraising and justice, 2) raise education requirements for presiding mayors, 3) standardize record-keeping, 4) increase transparency, and 5) bolster oversight to ensure that mayor’s courts better serve all users.

Available for download on Sunday, May 02, 2021

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