The Northern District of Ohio was formed on February 10, 1855, when Congress divided the Ohio District, created in 1803, into two Districts: the Northern District and the Southern District. Hiram V. Wilson was appointed first District Judge for the Northern District with court held in Cleveland. In 1878, the Northern District was divided into two divisions known as the Eastern and Western Divisions. The terms of court for the Western Division were to be held in Toledo and the Eastern Division to be held in Cleveland.
Currently, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio holds court in Cleveland, Akron, Toledo, and Youngstown and serves the 5.9 million citizens of the 40 most northern counties in Ohio. With 11 authorized district judgeships, it is among the 17 largest U.S. district courts. The district is fortunate to have four senior judges and nine magistrate judges sharing the Court's workload. The Northern District of Ohio is proud to have been the first Court to permit attorneys to file documents over the internet. Attorneys have had the benefit of filing and retrieving documents electronically over the internet since January 1996 in maritime asbestos cases, since October 1997 in civil cases, and since March 2004 in criminal cases using a system developed by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
Our district has installed some of the most technologically advanced electronic courtrooms in the country in Akron, Cleveland, Toledo and Youngstown. Each courtroom is equipped with an evidence presentation system through which counsel can display exhibits, realtime transcripts, video recordings, or multimedia presentations. The systems include document cameras for displaying documents, x-rays and three-dimensional objects; 15" flat panel video displays on counsel tables, the judge's bench and between jurors; technology-ready counsel tables from which multi-media presentations or images from a portable computer can be displayed to any monitor in the courtroom; realtime court reporter transcription; a visual image printer; a tablet and light pen; a VCR; and infrared equipment for listening assistance and language interpretation. Rave reviews about the electronic courtrooms have been provided by jurors, attorneys, and judges which note that these technologies contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of court proceedings.
As a demonstration district for differentiated case management, as well as an early implementation district under the Civil Justice Reform Act of 1990, the Northern District of Ohio adopted a Differentiated Case Management (DCM) Plan, a wide menu of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) options and a Pending Inventory Reduction Plan (PIRP) to manage its civil caseload. These programs have been highly successful and remain popular with the bench and the bar. Much of the district's success in maintaining current dockets during times of increasing case filings and judicial shortages can be attributed to these programs under which the Court continues to operate.
The Court moved into the beautiful Carl B. Stokes United States Court House in August 2002. Renovation of the historic Howard M. Metzenbaum Court House was completed in 2005. The project included restoration of some of the most architecturally significant public spaces in the building, which holds the United States Bankruptcy Court as its primary tenant. The project also included renovation of the District Court chambers adjacent to the two magnificent District Court ceremonial courtrooms, which are used by our senior judges and special proceedings. Court space in the Akron and Youngstown courthouses has also been renovated recently. Planning for a new courthouse in Toledo is also underway.
For more information about the structure of the Federal Courts and other interesting materials, click here, or refer to frequently asked questions about the Federal Judiciary. For a printable overview of the Federal Judiciary, click here.