Ohio’s first Constitution took effect in 1802 and provided for the creation of common-pleas courts around the state. The judges on those courts were chosen not by voters but instead by members of Ohio’s state legislature, which was known then and now as the General Assembly.
Ohio adopted new Constitutions in 1851 and then again in 1912. Under those documents – the latter of which still remains in effect – common-pleas judges were elected by the people rather than being chosen by the General Assembly.
Delaware County’s first courthouse was completed in 1816 at a cost of $8,000. In the late 1860s – after the Civil War – the county commissioners completed the construction of a new courthouse, which opened for business in 1869. That building – which still stands at 91 North Sandusky Street in Delaware – served as the county courthouse for 148 years until 2017 when the current county courthouse at 117 North Union Street opened.
Today Delaware County’s common-pleas court is served by two general-division judges (who handle felony criminal cases and a variety of civil cases), one domestic-relations judge (who handles divorces and child-custody disputes), and one probate-and-juvenile judge (who handles cases involves will and estates as well as cases involving children and their families).
Those judges have in turn created several specialized “dockets” that focus on serving persons with substance-abuse problems or who suffer from mental illnesses.
Like all Ohio judges, Delaware County’s judges are elected by the county’s voters, and they each serve six-year terms.