Athens County Common Pleas Court - Athens, Ohio USA

Athens County Common Pleas Court

Athens County Courthouse, 1 S. Court Street, 3rd Floor, Athens, Ohio USA 45701
Hours Monday-Friday  8 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

Judge George P. McCarthy  (740)593-3591  Fax (740)592-3020

Judge Patrick Lang (740) 592-3236  Fax (740) 592-3215

The following information is general in nature and is not to be relied upon for legal advice. 
If you have a question about your legal rights you should contact an attorney. 
The Court and its staff are not permitted to provide you legal advice.

The following information and comments are provided courtesy of Judge George P. McCarthy

COURT HOUSE OPEN 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday thorough Friday (except for holidays)
  • You should not enter the courthouse if you have been diagnosed with having COVID-19 within the past 14 days and you should let your attorney know immediately.  If unrepresented please contact the court. 


The duties of the Judge include the overseeing  and disposition of criminal and civil cases.

Civil Cases
Civil Cases include a wide variety of cases including personal injury (accident) cases, employment, contracts, property, workers compensation appeals, medical malpractice and others.  Typically money damages are sought in a civil case but not all the time.  The law provides a procedure for the attorneys to follow on how to exchange information.  This helps the attorneys prepare for their respective cases but takes time.   This is when depositions of witnesses take place.  Many cases are settled as a result. If the parties cannot reach a resolution then the case generally proceeds to trial.   At a trial, a jury of eight peers or the judge hears the facts of a civil case.   

Criminal Cases
Criminal Cases make up a majority of the cases the court hears each day.   Felony  cases generally include any criminal offense where the possible penalty is six months or more in prison.  Murder, Breaking and Entering, Grand Theft, Felonious Assault, Rape, Felony Domestic Violence, Felony OVI, Arson, Fraud, Robbery, Felony Drug Possession and Trafficking are just a few examples.In a criminal case the prosecuting attorney's office  represents the people. The criminal defendant is represented by their own attorney.  If they cannot afford an attorney, the Public Defender may be appointed to represent them. If a criminal case is not resolved, the case is usually set for a trial to a jury trial twelve peers or may be tried to the judge directly.     In criminal cases if the defendant is found guilty, the Judge is responsible for sentencing the defendant.   

Other Duties

Judge McCarthy established a Veterans Treatment Court in 2016 to help Veteran involved in the criminal justice system.  For more information  go to our page located Athens County Ohio Veterans Treatment Court Page.

The Grand Jury is an arm of the Court.   The Judge is responsible for charging a Grand Jury with its responsibilities under law to act as a general body of inquiry into criminal offenses that are alleged to have occurred within the county for purpose of deciding whether an indictment should be issued against a defendant to stand trial.    The Judge lends the grand jury to the prosecuting attorney's office  who presents information to the grand jury of alleged criminal incidents for possible indictment.  If  indicted an  arraignment is set.      

Arraignment is where a defendant is explained the charges against them, a not guilty plea is received, and initial court dates are scheduled.     Also, the judge sets bond to help ensure defendant returns for further proceedings.   

The attorneys then meet for status conference or pre-trial conference to discuss possible settlement of the case.  This may or may not be with the judge.  The attorneys often ask to have the case continued so they can try to reach a resolution.   It is not uncommon for the attorneys to request  to continue the case several times  as they exchange information and try to reach an agreeable resolution. If no resolution can be reached then the case proceeds to trial. 

A trial refers to the process where witness testimony and evidence is submitted to the judge or jury for consideration of determining guilt.

Sentencing occurs in criminal cases and is where the judge orders prison incarceration, or community control supervision to be imposed, or a combination thereof. 

The judges also hear & rule upon administrative appeals from various state and local agencies. These appeals, for example, come from decisions of the State Personnel Board of Review, Bureau of Workers Compensation, Unemployment Relations Board, and local matters such as from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Public Speaking Engagements, Field Trips, Mock Trials
Judges often speak to school groups and service clubs and encourage field trips to the courthouse.  The Court welcomes the opportunity to speak at such functions and to students to help inform them about the duties and responsibility of the Judicial Branch.   The Court supports those who are contemplating service in the legal profession and towards that end also assists in Athens County High Schools and Ohio University mock trial events.

Athens County Common Pleas Court - Local Rules of Court - Counsel and litigants representing themselves are expected to be compliant with these rules.  Links to these rules are provided below. 

Rev. 3/2023 JGM

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Newly Amended Local Rules of Court in Effect 01/01/2021 6 documents
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Athens Ohio Common Pleas Court - Civil Pre Trial Statement Form
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This is the most current version of the Local Rules of Court for Athens Common Pleas
document _recordid 1458
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Athens Ohio Common Pleas Court Appendix of Forms plus Court Costs in effect 1/1/21
document _recordid 1440
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Athens Ohio Common Pleas Court Domestic Relations Division Administrative Order effective1/1/21
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Athens Ohio Civil/Criminal Administrative Order effective 1/1/21
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Athens Common Pleas Court Local Rules; effective 1/1/21
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