An opinion from the state's highest court dealing with issues surrounding the elimination and creation of courts in Sandusky will affect legislation that's on the table to do the same thing here in Trumbull County.
The Supreme Court ruled last week that legislation abolishing two county courts in Sandusky to create one municipal court was, in part, unconstitutional because the Ohio General Assembly does ''not have power'' to appoint judges.
The legislation appoints two county court judges to terms on the newly created municipal court.
In addition, the new law is unconstitutional ''because the judges of the county court were never elected to serve on the municipal court,'' the ruling states.
State representative Sean O'Brien, who co-sponsored a bill with state Rep. Tom Letson to do essentially the same thing in Trumbull County as is being done in Sandusky, said the Supreme Court's ruling validates their calls for an immediate election if the proposal happens.
The proposal in Trumbull County is to eliminate Eastern District Court in Brookfield and Central District Court in Cortland and create a new municipal court to serve the same areas, but there are two pieces of legislation in Columbus to accomplish that.
O'Brien's and Letson's legislation calls for a 2013 election for a full-time judge.
The other proposal, put out by Republican state Rep. Casey Kozlowski, who represents a portion of northern Trumbull County until district boundaries change next year, calls for a 2017 election. Until then, Kozlowski's bill has an existing county court judge, Judge Thomas Campbell, serving through the end of 2017.
Kozlowski's bill has the General Assembly appointing a judge, which the Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional.
''Ours was drafted with the belief that elections should be held to determine who the judges are that sit in Ohio courts, and the Supreme Court decided that we were correct and we didn't even have to argue it,'' Letson said.
But that issue of lawmakers appointing a judge hampers O'Brien's and Letson's proposal, too.
It has a provision that would have let Campbell serve through the proposed 2013 election, which is unconstitutional because, like Kozlowski's bill and the matter in Sandusky, it appoints Campbell to the seat.
Letson said if it ever comes under scrutiny, he thinks the Supreme Court would rule the same as it did in the case involving the courts in Sandusky, but give the lawmakers a chance to make it right rather than striking down the whole measure.
The General Assembly will have a lame duck session after the election, but it appears neither of the local proposals will see any action, which means the issue will be pushed into the next General Assembly next year, so there is time to amend the proposal.
O'Brien said the issue is dead for now and the next shot that can be taken at it is probably in 2015.
Meanwhile, there is still a proposal to put both courts in one location. Commissioners have placed on hold a measure to extend the lease for the court in Brookfield until they get a response from Campbell, whose input has been sought by commissioners.