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Hamilton County Juvenile Court Cincinnati, Ohio
800 BROADWAY:   JudgesAdministrationBuilding DirectoryHoursFAQsCourt History

Historical Overview

There seems to be little or no definite information as to when and how the Juvenile Court of Hamilton County was established, although there are records to show that children were brought to the Juvenile Court following the enactment of the Juvenile Court Law in 1904.

The Court was located on the third floor of a building at the southeast corner of Court and Main Streets, Cincinnati, Ohio. The space was divided into a small office for the chief probation officer and a larger office, furnished with tables, desks and files for the cashier-stenographer and file clerk. The remainder of the floor was divided into offices for the probation officers and a courtroom. The courtroom had about fifty benches for those waiting for trial, children and parents, wives prosecuting their husbands for failure to provide, the police and spectators. All hearings before the Juvenile Judge were open to the public, with court sessions held three days a week.

The Detention home was on the fourth floor and contained a kitchen, dining room, sleeping quarters, and office staffed by a matron, an assistant, and a cook. Dependent and delinquent children were kept in these quarters. In the more serious cases, the boys were taken to the county jail which was then located at the northwest corner of Court and Sycamore. About 1915, the building housing the detention facility was determined to be unsafe and the City Building Commissioners ordered the Detention Home to move to the second floor or out of the building entirely. In 1919, the Court moved from the quarters at Court and Main Streets to the newly completed Courthouse.

In 1913, a bill amending the Juvenile Court Law and providing for a Court of Domestic Relations was passed. The bill provided that a Judge elected at the next term be designated on the ballot as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations, and to such Judge shall be assigned all matters arising under the Juvenile Court Act, including divorce and alimony matters; delinquent, dependent, neglected, and crippled children; cases of adults contributing to the delinquency or dependency of children and cases of failure to provide. It was shortly thereafter that only the persons directly involved with the case were permitted in the courtroom, thus the beginning of “confidentiality.”

Hamilton County Juvenile Court soon outgrew the Court House space. In 1948 the Court moved to 1100 Sycamore Street, remaining there until May 1953, when the Court moved to a new facility at 2020 Auburn Ave. The Court remained at that site until the early 1970s when the Administrative functions of the Court moved to 222 Central Parkway, where it remained until moving to its present location at 800 Broadway in 1991. The Youth Center remains in operation at 2020 Auburn Avenue.

From the beginning, and continuing to the present, Judges in Hamilton County have been specifically assigned to the Juvenile Bench. They do not rotate. This has allowed them to focus exclusively on juvenile issues. Historically, the juvenile judges have each served several terms, fostering stability and continuity.

The Judges of Hamilton County have been active with State Officials, greatly influencing the statutes and procedures governing juvenile practice in Ohio. The Judges have a long tradition of being in the national forefront regarding juvenile justice issues. This national prominence has brought the Court recognition and scrutiny, challenging the staff to maintain excellence as a model court.

Over the past 100 years, Hamilton County Juvenile Court has maintained a reputation for innovation and community partnership, making a difference in the lives of children and families. Strong leadership, solid partnership with the community and a willingness to embrace new ideas and technology will ensure the continuation of this long tradition of excellence into the next millennium.

The Judges of Hamilton County Juvenile Court

Judge Term
Judge John A. Caldwell 07/07/1904 - 12/31/1914
Judge Frank M. Gorman 1914
Judge Charles W. Hoffman 01/01/1915 - 12/31/1956
Judge Benjamin S. Schwartz 01/01/1957 - 12/31/1974
Judge William Morrissey 01/01/1967 - 02/28/1968
Judge Olive L. Holmes 02/29/1968 - 01/31/1979
Judge David E. Grossmann 01/01/1975 - 05/31/1998
Judge John P. O'Connor 02/01/1979 - 1992
Judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon 01/15/1993 - 11/30/2004
Judge Thomas R. Lipps 06/01/1998 - 12/31/2010
Judge Karla J. Grady 01/01/2005 - 10/31/2011
Judge Tracie M. Hunter 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2016
Judge John M. Williams 11/14/2011 - 02/14/2021
Judge Melissa Powers 01/01/2017 - present
Judge Kari L. Bloom 02/14/2021 - present

Hamilton County Juvenile Court     •     800 Broadway     •     Cincinnati, Ohio 45202