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 Russo and Brendan 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, and stakeholders that joined the court in creating this new specialty docket included the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office, Office of the Public Defender, Adult Probation Department, Bond Commissioner, Witness Victim Service Center, the Sheriff’s Department, Cleveland Municipal Court, Journey Center for Safety and Healing, Legal Aid Society of Greater Cleveland and 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 50 cases per year, or 150 cases over the life of the grant. Case Western Reserve University will assess the effectiveness of the High-Risk Domestic Violence Court.
In November 2020, the docket began accepting cases. Eligibility criteria include intimate partner domestic violence cases that have an allegation of the use of a firearm and/or strangulation. The goal of this docket is to reduce the risk of violence and homicide in intimate-partner violence cases in Cuyahoga County. Therefore, the focus is on victim safety through intense offender accountability and programming to support behavior change. Judge Sherrie Miday leads a team of experienced and highly trained criminal justice system professionals including a docket coordinator, assistant prosecuting attorney, defense attorneys, probation officers, victim advocate, Sheriff’s Department detectives, batterer intervention staff and mental health professionals. This team collaborates throughout the duration of the case and monitors defendant compliance closely. Evidence-based practices in supervision are utilized to reduce risk of recidivism, and the team continuously monitors and strategizes to reduce risk of violence on an ongoing basis. Resources are made available to target the individual behavioral needs of defendants and provide interventions to prevent future violence. The victim advocate outreaches victims early in the case process and maintains communication throughout the duration of the case. Victims receive information throughout the case, and resources are made available to them to support their safety.
For more about the High-Risk Domestic Violence docket, you can stream this video, or contact Coordinator Erin Becker via the contact information below.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, there is help available to you. For support with safety planning, obtaining a protection order and legal system advocacy information can be obtained through the following links:
Information about obtaining a civil protection order can be found here:
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)