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Judge Michael T. Brandt

          Franklin County Municipal Court
          General Division
          375 South High Street
          Columbus, Ohio 43215
          Courtroom 13B

Appointed to the bench 1997. Elected to the bench 1997.
Elected 2005 to current term.


Jill Whittier  614-645-8700


Krista Sowers 614-645-8296




B.S. - Muskingum College, 1965
J.D. - Ohio State University, 1968


Legal Practice: Brandt & Hull  1968-1997
Mayor - Grove City 1972-1980


Commencement of Action and General Procedures


By the Civil Rules.  I try to run my courtroom  in a relaxed atmosphere. Considering the number of cases that come through our courtroom on a daily basis, it is important that the parties, the attorneys, and all other persons involved with the  court are willing to discuss the matters with a goal of efficient termination of the cases. It is important to remember that this is the "people's court." Because it is, we have to give  the people the benefit of an efficient system.

Status Conferences

Held only if requested of if the court feels it is needed.  Status of the case is discussed, via phone if necessary.

Motions and Briefs

I do require extra copies. It has been my practice that all motions, in any case that one is requested, will be done in a liberal and relaxed manner with extensions granted for good cause. Any oral hearing requests are always granted.


It will be my practice that continuances and extensions will be granted if reasonably possible with the understanding that all cases should be resolved within the time frames and guidelines of the Rules of Superintendence.

Civil Pretrial Procedures


Pretrials are set in all civil cases by assignment office - any additional pretrials are set by the court.


If parties feel that a settlement conference would help resolve the case, I am more than willing to sit down with the parties or their counsel and try to effectuate a settlement to avoid protracted litigation.

Pretrial conferences and orders

Conferences are set in all civil cases for discussion of the case,  discovery,  and complex issues. Civil counsel for the parties should have authority to act on behalf of their clients since it is not necessary that the actual litigants be present at the pretrial  but should be available by telephone for consultations.

Criminal Pretrial Procedures


I encourage my prosecutor to meet with the attorneys  to discuss the cases and if they need guidance, come back and meet with me at the bench or in my chambers.


Should be oral. Nolo contendere or Alford pleas are allowed. I will consider all recommendations concerning plea arrangements that involve sentencing.

Pretrial conferences and orders

Criminal defendants are to be  present at all pretrials. Counsel should be prepared to discuss their case with the prosecutor and attempt to terminate the matter at the pretrial conference if at all possible.



This is a municipal court and we may have 30 jury trials on any given day.

Trial Date

The clerk's office issues notice of trial. I will grant continuances when requested -  preferable one week prior to trial.
Daily trial schedule is 30-50 cases, plus 30-50 pretrials & revocations.

Trial Briefs

Not required

Voir Dire

Counsel conducts voir dire. Peremptory challenge procedures are by the rules. It is my opinion that trials should be conducted in a relaxed atmosphere where counsel will be allowed to conduct their voir dire without interference from the court.


I expect to treat everyone in a respectful and courteous manner trying to make my courtroom a place where all parties feel justice is being served. My only request is that the litigants, counsel for the parties, and the witnesses be respectful to one another and to the other parties in the courtroom as if they were invited to someone else's home.
Examinations need not be conducted at the lectern. Counsel should ask permission to approach a witness.
I have no attire requirements or prohibitions.

Opening Statements

No time limits.  No exhibits in opening statement.


Exhibits should be marked ahead of time with copies available for the court and the parties and the originals maintained by the court stenographer.

Reading of depositions

No actors.


Qualifications of experts should be confirmed in accordance with the law and the rules.

Use of videotapes

Allowed with prior notice.


By the rules.

Daily Transcripts

Not required.

Closing statements

Conference before summation is not required.

Jury procedures

The court will not require written documents, such as jury instructions.  However, if they are desired, that may be an exception to the rule.
Depending on the case, jurors may be permitted to take notes.  Jurors are permitted to inspect exhibits at trial and in the jury room.  Jurors are permitted to ask questions in writing. The jury is instructed by the judge.
Counsel is permitted to talk with jurors after a verdict.

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