James F. Stevenson
to the The Shelby County Common Pleas Court. The Common
Pleas Court is located in the Shelby County Courthouse;
a historical landmark in the heart of downtown Sidney.
The courts of common pleas
are original courts of general jurisdiction in Ohio’s
judicial system. Every county in Ohio has a common
pleas court served by one or more judges.
Civil suits of a serious nature
involving real estate, property, tort, contract and
business relationships are tried in this Court.
The Common Pleas Court also has jurisdiction
over criminal cases involving serious crimes where the penalty
may be imprisonment for more than six months. Additionally
the Court of Common Pleas hears appeals from administrative
The Judge of the Shelby County Common Pleas Court is also
the county domestic relations judge having jurisdiction
over divorce, dissolution, alimony, child support, annulment
and custody in family disputes.
James F. Stevenson is the current judge of the Shelby County
Common Pleas Court.
Biographical: Honorable James
Judge James F. Stevenson was born in Bellefontaine,
Ohio in 1950. He graduated from The Ohio State University
in 1972 and the University of Cincinnati College of Law
in 1975. He moved to Sidney in 1975 and has practiced law
in Sidney since then. He is a member of the Shelby County
Bar Association (former President), the Ohio State Bar Association,
and the American Bar Association (member of the Litigation
Section, the Government Lawyer Division, and the National
Conference of State Trial Judges).
He is admitted to practice in Ohio, the
Federal Courts of the Northern and Southern District of
Ohio, and the United States Supreme Court.
Judge Stevenson engaged in the private
practice of law in Sidney from 1975 until 2005. During that
time, he was affiliated with the law firms of Boller &
Shuffelton, Boller & Stevenson, and most recently with
Kerrigan, Boller, Stevenson, Goettemoeller & Beigel.
His private practice encompassed many areas of the law including
Bankruptcy, Corporate and Business, Divorce and Family Law,
Estate Planning, Real Estate and General Trial Practice.
From 1975 until 1981 he also practiced criminal defense
law and was an Assistant Public Defender for Shelby County.
With the election of Mike Boller to County
Prosecutor in 1980 Judge Stevenson moved to the County Prosecutor’s
Office and was employed as an Assistant County Prosecutor.
From 1981 to 1992, he was the Chief Felony Prosecutor for
the County Prosecutor’s Office. In 1992 he was elected
County Prosecutor and re-elected in 1996, 2000, and 2004.
With the commencement of his term of office in 2005, he
opted to become a full time prosecutor and no longer engage
in the private practice of law.
Judge Stevenson’s thirty years of
private practice has given him much valuable and varied
experience in many areas of the law. He tried civil jury
trials for both plaintiffs and defendants, represented many
clients in divorce and dissolution cases, and represented
clients in business and real estate matters. He assisted
clients with family issues including wills, estates, guardianships,
powers of attorney and the many other varied legal matters
every family must deal with from time to time. In Federal
Bankruptcy Court he helped clients in dealing with their
His career as a prosecutor both as an
assistant and as the elected prosecutor was no less active.
He handled thousands of felony criminal cases of all kinds
including cases of such notoriety as the Roy Lawrence, Kevin
Yarbrough, and Lawrence Michael Hensley murder cases. He
also worked closely with local elected officials and agencies
including County office holders, Township Trustees, and
the many departments and agencies of local government. In
that capacity he provided legal advice and representations
to both the elected officials and agencies in the many legal
matters that they must address on a regular basis.
In 2006, Judge Stevenson was elected judge
of the Shelby County Common Pleas Court, General Division,
taking office January 1, 2007.
He is a frequent guest lecturer on Criminal
Practice and Procedure at Edison State Community College
He resides near Sidney with his
wife, the former Gwen Bornhorst of Botkins, and their two
Hours of Operation:
8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Civil and Criminal:
|Adult Probation Department: