Cuyahoga County Getting New High Risk Domestic Violence Court

Cleveland - The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court is establishing a High-Risk Domestic Violence (DV) Court.

The Court received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance Innovations in Supervision Initiative: Building Capacity to Create Safer Communities Grant Program. Administrative Judge John J. Russo appointed Judge Sherrie Miday to oversee the docket.

The High-Risk DV Court will accept defendants charged with felony offenses involving the most severe forms of intimate partner abuse, including incidents of near-fatal strangulation and severe injury to the victim.

“I am thrilled that Cuyahoga County has been selected for this grant,” says Judge Miday. “A dedicated high-risk domestic violence docket will ensure consistency, promote accountability and provide resources for both the accused and the victim, thereby reducing recidivism and making our community a safer place.”

The three-year grant allows for referral of 50 cases a year to the High-Risk DV Court.

Studies show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Cuyahoga County ranks first in Ohio with 7,482 DV incidents, with an average 16 DV deaths on an annual basis. The county’s 34 felony court judges presided over 1,152 DV cases in 2018.

“If we can prevent even one domestic violence death with this pilot docket, then it will be a success,” says Judge Russo. “We hope the work done here in Cuyahoga County will be a model for other felony Courts across the state and nation.”

The High-Risk DV Court will develop a matrix of eligibility for the program, which expects to admit felony defendants accused of certain physical and firearm-related crimes. The Court will also be hiring a dedicated docket coordinator and pretrial probation officer. The Cuyahoga County Public Defender, the County Prosecutor, and the Witness Victim Services Center will provide additional staff. Other stakeholders include Cleveland Municipal Court and the Case Western Reserve University Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education

Judge Miday graduated from John Carroll University in 1998 and received her doctorate in legal studies from the Case Western Reserve University in 2001. Judge Miday dedicates much of her time participating in numerous specialized domestic violence-training opportunities, serving as the Common Pleas Court representative on the Cuyahoga County Domestic Violence Taskforce and is the co-editor of the Baldwin’s Ohio Handbook Series: Domestic Violence Law 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.

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