About the Court
Mansfield Municipal Court has jurisdiction over all of Richland County, with the exception of Shelby, Shiloh, Plymouth (Richland County) and six Northern Townships. The Court handles traffic, misdemeanor criminal and civil cases.
The court has been a state and national leader in developing innovative approaches to reduce recidivism while lowering the cost to taxpayer of operating the court. By 2004 the court was operating two Specialized Dockets, among the first in the country. (Drug Treatment and Mental Health Court)
While some refer to these courts as “Problem Solving Courts”, a Specialized Docket is designed to hold offenders accountable while working with them to address challenges often contributing to their actions such as substance abuse, addiction and/or mental health issues. By addressing these problems utilizing monies from grants and other non-tax funding sources, the offenders often do not repeat the offense. Reduction of offenders repeating their offenses remains a significant goal of the Specialized Dockets.
During 2008 the court opened a Domestic Violence Specialized Docket and in 2009 a Veteran’s Court. Both along with the Mental Health Docket were one of the first in the United States. Today Specialized Dockets are common in Ohio and across the country.
Among other programs designed to better serve the public good while reducing the cost of incarceration include probation and house arrest programs such as TIDE, Diversion, Electronic Monitoring, and General Probation. On the civil side a new Mediation Program serves to expedite resolution of some cases while stream lining others to be heard by the court.
Honorable Judge Jerry Ault
Prior to being elected to the Mansfield Municipal Court in 1999, Judge Jerry Ault was a Richland County Prosecutor for 21 years. After being elected to the Bench, Judge Ault began a progressive approach that brought many changes to his courtroom. These innovations have earned him recognition as a judicial leader throughout the State of Ohio.
Realizing the need for alternative sentencing, Judge Ault introduced several specialty courts, which operate as Specialized Dockets within the court. Participants agree to comply with strict supervision and treatment requirements if approved to enter these programs. These courts increase collaboration between the court and treatment providers, which has been proven to be cost-effective and reduces recidivism.
Judge Ault first instituted a Mental Health Court in 2004. Realizing that a large percentage of defendants suffer from mental illness, these offenders are required to complete treatment for their mental illness. The treatment program is less expensive than incarceration. His Mental Health Court is the third such court in the State of Ohio
Domestic Violence Court was added in 2008. It was the first in the State and one of the first in the U.S. Although it also incorporates treatment, it is a far more punitive program than his other specialty courts.
The most recent specialty court added was Veterans Court in 2009. It was also the first in the State of Ohio and one of the very first in the Country. Judge Ault feels that many veterans’ returning home from combat suffer unique problems incurred as a result of their service to our Country. For this reason Judge Ault considers it the duty of society and of the Court to incorporate treatment with justice.
These innovations have earned Judge Ault recognition as a judicial leader throughout the State of Ohio. Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Stratton and former Attorney General Richard Cordray have called Judge Ault a leader and pioneer within the Judiciary. The Ohio State Supreme Court uses Judge Ault’s specialty dockets as model courts. Over one hundred law enforcement and court personnel, including judges, have visited his court.
Including the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Court that Judge Ault inherited, he was the first Municipal Court Judge in the United States to conduct four specialty dockets. His leadership and approach to the diverse causes within the Judicial System has made a real difference in countless lives for the betterment and safety of our community.
Honorable Judge C. Badnell
- Ohio Northern University, 1994
- Claude W. Pettit College of Law
- Juris Doctor
- The Ohio State University, 1991
- Fisher College of Business
- Bachelor of Science, Finance
- The Supreme Court of Ohio 1994
- Commonwealth of Kentucky 1996
- District of Columbia 1997
- United States District Court
- Southern District of Ohio 1996
- United States District Court
- Northern District of Ohio 1997
- Ohio Judicial Conference
- Ohio State Bar Association
- Kentucky Bar Association
- District of Columbia Bar Association
- Richland County Bar Association
Magistrate John McCollister
Magistrate John McCollister has been a Magistrate with the Court since 2017. Prior to his appointment as Magistrate, Mr. McCollister was an associate attorney with the Columbus based law firm Koenig and Long, LLC, representing criminal clients in Common Pleas and Municipal Courts. Mr. McCollister began his career as an Assistant Law Director with the Mansfield Law Director’s Office, where he remained for nine years. Mr. McCollister received his Juris Doctorate Degree from Capital University Law School and his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Ohio University.