Cuyahoga County High-Risk Domestic Violence Court
The mission of the High-Risk Domestic Violence Court is to reduce the risk of violence and homicide in high-risk cases of intimate-partner violence. A specially-trained, multi-disciplinary team of justice system professionals works collaboratively to improve victim safety by providing resources for victims and intense monitoring and behavioral interventions for offenders.
Under the leadership of Administrative and Presiding Judges John J. Russo and Brendan J. Sheehan, in collaboration with Judge Sherrie Miday, the Common Pleas Court identified a unique opportunity to improve the criminal justice system’s response to felony-level cases of intimate-partner violence in Cuyahoga County. Planning for the docket began in 2019. In collaboration with its stakeholders, the High Risk Domestic Violence team created this specialty docket. Stakeholders include the Cuyahoga County Executive and the Witness Victim Service Center, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, the Office of the Public Defender, the Adult Probation Department, Bond Commissioner, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, Cleveland Municipal Court, Journey Center for Safety and Healing, Legal Aid Society of Greater Cleveland, and the Cuyahoga Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.
A three-year, $1 million grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Innovations in Supervision was awarded to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court for the creation of the High-Risk Domestic Violence Court docket to handle 150 cases over the life of the grant. Case Western Reserve University will assess the effectiveness of the High-Risk DV Court.
In November 2020, the docket began accepting cases. In order to identify the most dangerous cases of intimate-partner violence, eligibility criteria includes lethality risk factors of an allegation of the use of firearm and/or strangulation in the offense. The goal of this docket is to reduce the risk of violence and homicide in intimate-partner violence cases in Cuyahoga County. The focus is on victim safety through intense offender accountability.
Judge Sherrie Miday leads a team of experienced and highly-trained criminal justice system professionals including a docket coordinator, assistant prosecuting attorney, two public defenders, a court-supervised release probation officer, post-sentence supervision probation officer, victim advocate, detectives from the Sheriff’s Department, as well as the domestic violence program facilitator. This team collaborates throughout the duration of the case and closely monitors defendant compliance. The victim advocate outreaches victims early in the case process and maintains communication throughout the duration of the case.
By May 2021, the docket reached capacity with over 50 cases on the docket. The High-Risk Domestic Violence Court Team meets weekly to monitor cases and hold compliance hearings for defendants.
HRDVC Court In The News
Richmond, M. (2020, 25 September). Cuyahoga County Launches New Domestic Violence Docket. Retrieved from Cuyahoga County Launches New Domestic Violence Docket | News | ideastream
Krouse, P. (2020, 18 October). A Matter of Domestic Violence Intervention. The Plain Dealer, pp. B1. https://www.cleveland.com/news/2020/10/cuyahoga-county-common-pleas-court-adds-domestic-violence-docket-as-pandemic-causes-cases-to-rise.html
Buduson, S. (2020, 28 November). High-Risk Domestic Violence Court Seeks to Reduce Cuyahoga’s High Number of Incidents, Deaths. Retrieved from High-Risk Domestic Violence Court aims to reduce Cuyahoga’s high number of incidents, deaths (news5cleveland.com)