Legal Question in Constitutional Law in Ohio

I think the defiance county Ohio juvenile cout is denying me my constitutional right to equal protection under the law.

In Defiance County OH (30 miles from Toledo) the Juvenile court is refusing to accept any pleadings from me (I am filing Pro Se) because supposedly a local rule states that the court will not accept and return and not enter in the record any thing submitted to the court if there are any unpaid charges owed to the court.

Well the clerk (who accepts the mail and returns the unaccepted items) said that I owe over $500 in unspecified fees and any motions will be not recorded and returned. I stated I am incapable of paying those fees. I am not sure what the rules are for indigence but I qualify for food stamps and am below the Federal poverty level.

My son is currently and has been for over 2 years living with me because his mother abandoned him and is 100% mentally disabled (2 different Government agencies recognize her 100% mental disability). The 6 year old order giving Mother Custody means that even though my son is and has been living with me over 100 miles from his mother she can come snatch him at any time which she has threatened to do causing my son great mental anguish. Also I have been paying his mother child support even though I support my son 100% and she keeps the $500 a month for her smoking and gambling addictions. She has also refused to spend 1 dime of the child support she get from my on our child I have provided 100% of all his needs and his mother has provided 0%.

Obviously if I can not afford to pay the alleged court fees I can not afford to pay an attorney at this time. But I am willing to pay for an attorney in the future (I am currently unemployed).

I would like an attorney simply to get the local rule set aside so that I may file the motion of modification of custody. If would be nice to have an attorney for the change in custody issue but I would be extremely grateful for an attorney to just help getting the court to allow me to submit my motion Pro Se.


Can you provide me with any advice as to what I can do to get my motion accepted. Are there any actions I can take myself to achieve my simple goal of having a motion accepted?

Asked on 10/09/13, 2:20 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Eric Willison Law Office of Eric E. Willison

In Ohio, if you are indigent but wish to file something with a court but not incur filing fees, you must file an affidavit of indigency with the Court or a request to proceed in forma pauperis. You will want to look at the local rules to see how you go about doing this in the Defiance County Court.

If they still will not accept your filing because of the unpaid fees, you may want to file for a writ of procedendo which may have to be filed with the Court of Appeals which governs the Defiance county court of common pleas.

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Answered on 10/09/13, 10:07 pm

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