Extraordinary Writs

Published Date Written by Erik L. Smith






      In some situations, a person can assert their rights by filing a case directly in an Ohio Court of Appeals or the in Supreme Court of Ohio. Those situations include cases where a judge or public official has refused to exercise a clear legal duty the doing of which you have a right to; a court refuses to dismiss a case over which it has no authority to proceed with; a court unreasonably delays proceeding to judgment; a politician lacks a right to his office which affects your right to that office; a city or corporation’s charter is not being enforced properly; persons with no legal right to your children refuse to return your children to you; you have been jailed unlawfully. You can also ask the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court to dismiss a biased judge in your case.


            The relief those problems (excluding judge recusal) are called extraordinary writs because they are available only when the person has no recourse in the ordinary trial system, thus requiring a direct order from a higher court (writ). For example, you might be entitled to an extraordinary writ if: 



         Extraordinary writs are usually unsuccessful. The key to prevailing in them is to recognize when an extraordinary writ is called for and then knowing what to argue to convince the higher court to issue it. My first consideration in every case is whether the problem can be solved legitimately by an original action in a higher court. Usually, the answer is no. But that option should always be rejected before deciding to go to trial or to continue with a case in the ordinary way.


My experienced has included writing complaints, briefs, memoranda for original actions in the extraordinary writs of mandamus, prohibition, and procedendo. A possible indicator that you may need to seek an extraordinary writ is when you feel a court or public official/agency is jerking you around or doing or omitting something that leaves you feeling helpless to cure. As your attorney, I will analyze your case from the start to decide how to achieve your goals in the most direct and least expensive way. Usually, that will not be by extraordinary writ. But it might be.