The judicial arm of Hilliard’s local government, Mayor’s court is administrated by the Mayor and operated by the appointed Clerk of Court. The Mayor appoints a magistrate to hear and determine misdemeanor cases coming within the jurisdiction of the court.
Mayor’s Court members
- Jill VanOrder, Clerk of Court
- Clayton Hoover, Deputy Clerk of Court
- Pattie Morris, Deputy Clerk of Court
- Gregory Peterson, Mayor’s Court Prosecutor
- Dawn Steele, Franklin County’s Hilliard City Prosecutor
Mayor’s Court is held every Wednesday at 8 a.m. in the Hearing Room of the Joint Safety Services Building (5171 Northwest Parkway). Defendant sign-in begins at 7:30 a.m. Please call (614)334-2361 for more information.
Work begins in earnest May 1 on Hilliard’s new drug recovery court, designed to help people dealing with substance use disorder find a path away from jail and toward a drug-free life.
The program was made possible in part by a $50,000 grant from the Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board of Franklin County. City Council approved additional funding for the program in March.
The recovery court approach has been successful in other communities but has only been tried recently in Central Ohio mayor’s courts. Because mayor’s courts like the one in Hilliard typically are designed to handle a docket of low-level crimes, they haven’t been well equipped to address substance use issues from a recovery and treatment approach at the local level.
Results from similar programs in Upper Arlington and Whitehall inspired Hilliard leaders to start the process of bringing a recovery court here.
The idea of a recovery court is to identify people going through our court system who are struggling with substance use disorder and divert them away from potential jail terms and into a closely monitored substance-abuse treatment program that helps them get control of their lives.
The process begins before cases reach the courtroom. If the apparent facts of a case indicate an individual charged with a jailable offense might be a candidate for the program, the person can be asked if he or she wishes to participate in the two-year recovery program rather than face jail time. Those who agree to participate complete an application. The case coordinator and the public defender review the application and – if they agree the person is a good candidate for the program – they take the case to the magistrate.
If the magistrate agrees, the individual must show up at court every Wednesday for the first six months, must report to the case coordinator three times per week for two years, and is subject to random drug tests throughout the program. In addition, individuals must participate in clinical assessments that identify personalized treatment plans to help them overcome their addiction.
This is not an option for every drug offender, and it is far from a slap on the hand.
Those who do complete the treatment and recovery court program will walk away without charges on their record – and with the potential of leading a life free from substance abuse, which is a more desirable outcome than having someone convicted and sitting in a jail cell.