If a judgment has been decided in your favor in a civil case, then you become a judgment creditor - that is, you are the person to whom money is owed. The person or business who owes you the money is the judgment debtor. A judgment usually includes a specific amount of money, plus interest and the court costs you paid. Interest accrues until the judgment amount and court costs are paid in full. To collect on your judgment you may attempt any of the following options:
It is important to wait at least 15 days after the journalization of any Magistrate’s Decision before starting any collection attempt. The timely filing of an Objection to the Magistrate’s Decision acts as an automatic stay of execution until the objection is ruled on; therefore, you cannot file for a garnishment while the Objection is pending.
The Garnishment Department of the Clerk of Court’s Office is located on the 2nd level of the Justice Center at Window No. 9. Forms are provided. The hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The phone number is (216) 664-4859. If your call is not immediately answered, please be patient and try again later. There is sometimes a heavy call volume.
Our departmental goal is to have a Magistrate’s Decision issued within 20 days of the date of any Small Claims or Garnishment hearing. However, this is not always possible, as many variables frustrate or impede this goal. The sheer volume of cases, and in some cases the many complex issues to be resolved, sometimes requires extensive legal research. We ask for your patience, and strongly discourage any attempts after trial to contact the magistrate who heard your case. Such one-sided contact is an ex parte communication and it could be misconstrued as an attempt of improper undue influence.
You “talk” to the Court by filing a motion. Continuances of any hearing may be accomplished by filing a “Motion to Continue Hearing,” at least seven days prior to the scheduled court date.
All requests for continuances shall be in writing and must include:
All requests for continuances must be signed by the party requesting the continuance or his attorney. A courtesy copy of the request shall also be delivered to the Chief Magistrate on the 12th floor at the time of filing.
The cost of filing a Motion to Continue is $5.00. If your court date is near and you have not received a ruling on your Motion to Continue, call the Magistrate’s Department at (216) 664-4942.
If the plaintiff, the person who filed the lawsuit, does not appear in court, the case will be dismissed without prejudice, which means that, if necessary, you can come back and re-file your lawsuit within a year. If you settle your Small Claims case prior to the scheduled court date you do not need to appear in court for it to be dismissed. However, if the defendant has filed a counterclaim against you and refuses to dismiss his counterclaim, then you should appear in court.
Never leave the criminal or traffic courtroom without being clear on the amount you owe in fines and court costs. The courtroom journalizer will prepare a fine and cost sheet which the bailiff will give to you before you leave the courtroom. Payment is expected on the sentencing day unless other arrangements to pay are made.
Requests for time to pay must be made in the Clerk’s office on the 3rd floor of the Justice Center. A partial payment is required on the day of sentencing unless other arrangements are ordered by the judge or magistrate. If you are given time to pay, your court costs will be increased by $15.00 for each time to pay request that is granted.
Requests for community work service (CWS) in lieu of fine and costs should normally be directed to the judge or magistrate. If you are seeking CWS, you may be asked questions about your employment or financial situation. Not everyone is entitled to CWS.
The Magistrates Department website includes the photograph and names of all magistrates employed by Cleveland Municipal Court. CourtView, our new computer system, allows you to look up your case, either by the case number or your name, and see the name of the magistrate that heard your case and the case status. If the magistrate’s decision is not on the docket, then it means that a decision has not been made or that it has not yet been journalized.
Magistrates preside over Traffic Arraignment hearings Monday through Friday at 8:30 a.m. in Courtroom 3-B, and 1:30 p.m. in Courtrooms 3-B and 3-C, which is on the third floor of the Justice Center. The bottom right hand corner of the pink copy of your Uniform Traffic Ticket will tell you what date, where and at what time to report to court.
Magistrates preside over all Small Claims cases Tuesday through Friday at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 12-D on the 12th floor of the Justice Center.
Magistrates preside over the Garnishment hearings Monday through Wednesday and the Debtor’s Exams on Thursday and Friday, at 2:30 p.m. in Courtroom 3-A, on the third floor of the Justice Center.
Magistrates preside over the Post-Judgment Motion docket Tuesday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., in Courtroom 12-D on the 12th floor of the Justice Center. All types of motions are heard on this docket, including Replevin and Parking Violation Bureau appeals.
Magistrates preside over Administrative License Suspension appeals (ALS), 12-point Suspension appeals, and Limited Driving Privileges hearings every Friday at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom 12-A on the 12th floor of the Justice Center.
For any other questions, you may contact the Magistrates Department at (216) 664-4942.
Once a judgment has been entered against you, collection efforts, including garnishments and levies, may be taken. A judgment creditor may take 25% of a judgment debtor’s net disposable income (that which remains after deductions required by law) for each pay period. The order of garnishment, once filed, is continuously applied, until the debt, court costs and interest are paid in full.
The answer to this question depends on why your car was impounded. The following is a non-exhaustive list of reasons why cars are impounded:
If your car has been towed, you can call the Cleveland Police Department Vehicle Impound Unit at (216) 664-5060 if you have any questions about the procedure, fees, hours of operation and paperwork required to regain possession of your car. If a car has a DUI hold, you must file a Motion to Release Vehicle in the Clerk’s Office requesting release and possession of the car. The motion will be decided by the magistrate presiding over the Traffic Arraignment docket. The magistrate will prepare an Order for you to take to the Vehicle Impound Unit.
The Cleveland Police Department Vehicle Impound Unit is located in the Police Headquarters attached to the Justice Center. However, you must exit the Justice Center Courts Tower and enter the Police Headquarters from Ontario Street. A uniformed Cleveland Police officer will direct you to the Impound Unit. Be prepared to have a ride to one of several lots throughout the city to retrieve your car. If your license is under suspension, you must take a licensed driver with you in order to retrieve your car.
Judges and magistrates may grant a defendant limited driving privileges for occupational, educational, vocational or medical purposes, to attend court-ordered treatment, or for taking a driver’s license exam, upon proof of financial responsibility, under the following circumstances:
The law regarding limited driving privileges changes from time to time. Consult with a lawyer if you have any questions.