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Home / Judiciary / Judges / Jodi L. Thomas
 

Judge

Jodi L. Thomas

ELECTED 2017

 
 

BIO

Judge Jodi Thomas is a lifelong resident of Franklin County. She is a graduate of Gahanna Lincoln High School, and attended The Ohio State University where she earned her bachelor’s degree and license in social work. Judge Thomas received her Juris Doctorate in May of 2001 from Capital University Law School. She went on to spend 14 years as an attorney for the Franklin County Public Defender's Office, where she trained and supervised new attorneys. 

During her last five years at the Public Defender’s Office, Judge Thomas was assigned to the Franklin County Specialized Dockets as the lead attorney. Current Specialized Docket programs include: L.I.N.C., Military and Veterans Services, CATCHh.a.r.t., and Recovery Court. Judge Thomas was appointed to the Franklin County Municipal Court Bench by Governor Kasich in April of 2016. In November 2017, Judge Thomas was elected to an unexpired term and re-elected to a full term in November of 2019. Judge Thomas currently presides over the h.a.r.t docket and CATCH specialized dockets.

Prior to joining the bench, Judge Thomas dedicated her career to helping victims of human trafficking, veterans, and those suffering from mental health issues and drug addiction. She has been recognized for her work and has received the following honors: ADAMH Attorney of the Year Mental Health Court, Excellent Service Award Alcohol and Drug Addiction Program, Rise to the Challenge Award Military and Veterans Service Program, ADAMH Attorney of the Year Opiate Extension Program/Alcohol and Drug Addiction Program, and Model of Justice Award from the Justice League of Ohio. She was also inducted into the Gahanna Lincoln High School Alumni Hall of Fame. Judge Thomas is married with two daughters.

Judge Thomas is the Presiding Judge over the CATCH Court and h.a.r.t. Court Specialized Dockets. Learn More about CATCH and h.a.r.t.

View Ohio Revised Code, Local Court Rules, and Ohio Rules of Court.

Continuances

Continuances and extensions will be granted if reasonably possible with the understanding that all cases should be resolved within the time frame and guidelines of the Rules of Superintendence. Requests for continuances should be presented to the Court a minimum of five (5) days prior to the court date. Opposing parties are to be contacted regarding the request.

Decorum

The courtroom is a place in which everyone will be treated in a respectful and courteous manner as to provide an environment where all parties feel justice is being served. Litigants, counsel for the parties, and witnesses must be respectful to one another and to all parties in the courtroom. Examinations need not be conducted at the lectern. Counsel should ask permission to approach a witness. Cell phones and wireless devices must remain off while in the courtroom. 

Motions & Briefs

Motions must be submitted timely and served on opposing parties. Motions may be ruled on without oral hearings, unless requested. All motions are to be submitted to the Court at least five (5) days before trial date. It is the practice that all motion hearings, in any case that one is requested, will be done in a liberal and relaxed manner with extensions granted for good cause.

Status Conferences

Status Conferences are held only on request or if the Court feels it is needed. Parties should be prepared to discuss preliminary matters including but not limited to discovery issues, preliminary motions, etc. Status conferences may be held by phone or Zoom if parties agree or the Court requests.

Other

The courtroom is run in a courteous and efficient manner. There is a high volume case load on a daily basis. To ensure that justice is served for each case in a timely fashion, it is important that the parties, attorneys, and all other persons involved with the case are willing to discuss the matters with a goal of efficient termination of the cases. It is important to remember that this is the “people’s court” and as such, the people must be given the benefit of an efficient system. In doing so, it is essential that all parties, attorneys, and witness be on time for their scheduled case(s). The Court encourages the prosecutor to meet with the opposing counsel to discuss the case(s) and exchange any discovery requested.

Judge Jodi Thomas presides over the h.a.r.t. program (Helping Achieve Recovery Together), which is an opiate-specific drug court. H.a.r.t. currently operates on Wednesdays via Zoom. The staff for this program are located on the 6th floor. If counsel has a referral, please contact a h.a.r.t. staff member.

Judge Thomas also presides over the CATCH program, (Changing Actions to Change Habits).  This program works with survivors of human trafficking and currently operates on Thursdays at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The staff for this program are located on the 6th floor. If counsel has a referral, please contact a CATCH staff member. 

Motions & Briefs

All motions and briefs are to be submitted timely and served on opposing parties. Courtesy copies delivered to the Judge will expedite rulings. Parties should request a hearing when necessary. Collaboration with parties and the Court is appreciated.

General

Pretrial conferences are set in all cases for discussion of the case, discovery, and complex issues. All parties should have authority to act on behalf of litigants, as it is not necessary for the actual litigants to be present at the pretrial. Litigants with attorneys appearing on their behalf must be available by telephone for consultation. Counsel are required to confer before the hearing pursuant to Local Court Rule 6.01, making a sincere effort to settle the case and to agree on evidentiary matters about which there is no genuine dispute. Request for telephone or Zoom pretrials should be submitted by motion and opposing parties must be contacted regarding the request. The party requesting the continuance must initiate the conference call and contact the Court at the designated time. If Zoom is requested, parties must provide the Court correct contact and emails for all parties three (3) days prior to the Zoom conference. Pretrial Statements must be provided according to Local Court Rule 6.01 at all second pretrials.
 

General

All pleas should be oral unless otherwise agreed to by the Court and parties. Zoom hearings are acceptable. Nolo Contendere pleas (defendant does not admit guilt but does not contest criminal charges) or Alford pleas (defendant enters a plea of guilty but maintains innocence) are allowed with previous discussion with the Court. The Court will consider all recommendations concerning plea arrangements that involve sentencing. 

Assigned prosecutors are encouraged to meet with the attorneys to discuss the cases. If further guidance is needed, the Court shall be available.

Motions & Briefs

All motions and briefs are to be submitted timely and served on opposing parties. Courtesy copies delivered to the Judge will expedite rulings. Parties should request a hearing when necessary. Collaboration with parties and the Court is appreciated.

Pretrial/Status Conferences

Criminal defendants must be present at all pretrial hearings unless a non-appearance is approved by the Court. Zoom hearings are available and can be arranged through the Bailiff. Counsel should be prepared to discuss their case with the prosecutor and attempt to terminate the matter at the pretrial conference if at all possible.

Other

The Court will only entertain motions for bond modification on the record, in open court with notice to the prosecutor.

General

The Court may have 30 jury trials on any given day. The courtroom is an environment where all shall be treated in a respectful and courteous manner, ensuring to all parties that justice is being served. Litigants, counsel for the parties, and the witnesses are to be respectful to one another and to all parties in the courtroom as if they were invited to someone else’s home. Cell phones and wireless devices must remain off while in the courtroom. Examinations need not be conducted at the lectern. Counsel should ask permission to approach a witness.

Exhibits should be marked ahead of time with copies available for the Court, jurors, and the parties with the originals maintained by the court reporter. Trial notebooks must be exchanged in accordance with the pretrial memorandum for civil cases.

Qualifications of experts should be confirmed in accordance with the law and the rules.

Dates

Notices of trial are issued by the Court. Continuances will be granted when requested ONLY if it is within rule, preferable one week prior to trial. Opposing parties must be contacted regarding continuance requests. The daily trial schedule is 30-50 cases, in addition to 30-50 pretrials and revocations.

Jury Procedures

Counsel conducts voir dire. Peremptory challenge procedures are by the rules. The Court will not require written documents, such as jury instructions. However, if they are desired, the Judge may make an exception to the rule. Jurors are permitted to inspect exhibits at trial and in the jury room. The Court generally seats two alternates in addition to the sworn jurors. Jurors are permitted to ask questions in writing. The Court does not limit the time devoted to opening statements or to closing statements, in the belief that wise and experienced trial counsel have no interest in irritating jurors or prospective jurors, or in putting them to sleep during the trial. The jury is instructed by the Judge. Counsel is permitted to talk to the jurors after the verdict is read.

Contact Information