On Thursday, June 20, 2024, Alicia Hopkins filed a petition with the Supreme Court of Ohio against Judge Ralph Winkler of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division.

According to court documents, Hopkins has developmental disabilities and receives services through the Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services (HCDDS). HCDDS had previously filed a complaint in Probate Court seeking an order requiring Hopkins to undergo medical evaluations and sign releases allowing HCDDS to access her medical records.

However, Hopkins argues in her petition that Judge Winkler does not have subject matter jurisdiction over the case initiated by HCDDS. Hopkins claims she has never been deemed incompetent by a court. Under Ohio law, HCDDS can only file such a complaint in Probate Court if the individual has been found incapacitated.

Hopkins also contends that HCDDS exceeded its statutory authority by filing the complaint against her in the first place. County boards of developmental disabilities, like HCDDS, are created by statute and only have the powers explicitly granted to them by law. The statutes allow HCDDS to file a complaint seeking medical services for an individual only if that person has been declared incompetent.

In her petition, Hopkins is seeking a writ of prohibition to stop Judge Winkler and the Probate Court from taking any actions in the HCDDS case besides dismissing it, since the court allegedly lacks jurisdiction. Hopkins argues Judge Winkler’s continued involvement would constitute an unauthorized exercise of judicial power. She also requests a writ of mandamus against HCDDS ordering the agency to refrain from filing similar complaints against her in the future without a determination of incapacity.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.