• Produced by the Cuyahoga County Restorative Justice Committee, a community effort housed

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    • Abstract: Produced by the Cuyahoga County Restorative Justice Committee, a community effort housedat the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University.For more information, contact:Mark Chupp, Program Manager

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Produced by the Cuyahoga County Restorative Justice Committee, a community effort housed
at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University.
For more information, contact:
Mark Chupp, Program Manager
Center for Neighborhood Development
Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs
2121 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
Funding provided by the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners.
Copyright June 2002, all rights reserved
Copies of this guide have been made available to the public at the Justice Center and locations
throughout Cuyahoga County.
3 Court User’s Guide
In a democracy, the courts and the services are intended to represent and serve the
community. Unfortunately, the court process is all too often intimidating and confusing for
many first-time users. Whether you are a victim, witness, offender or concerned citizen, the
courts should be accessible as a tool to carry out justice. This Court User’s Guide offers citizens,
for the first time, the opportunity to learn the basics of the court process; information about
the Justice Center; and a directory of judges, organizations and services related to the criminal
courts. This guide is not legal advice; the general information about the law provided is only an
overview. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem you are urged to seek
the advice of an attorney.
This guide is unique; you will find information in it for victims, witnesses, offenders,
and the community. This represents a balanced approach to justice, where the needs of all
those affected by crime are valued. This balance reflects the principles of restorative justice, a
new and growing approach to criminal justice. Restorative justice, unlike traditional responses
to crime, does not focus only on punishing offenders, regardless of the effect, nor on
treatment for offenders with little attention to the consequences of breaking the law. Instead,
restorative justice presents a third way, seeking to heal the wound caused by crime. Crime
harms all involved; the response to crime must therefore seek restoration. This involves
holding offenders accountable by facing the human consequences of their actions, restoring
the rights and needs of victims, and empowering the community to repair the rupture caused
by crime.
Restorative justice is neither liberal nor conservative, but balanced. Crime is a
violation of people and relationships. It creates obligations to make things right. Justice
involves the victim, offender, and the community in a search for solutions that promote repair,
reconciliation and reassurance.1 There are many program models based on restorative justice,
including victim-offender mediation, community service, family group conferences, and
sentencing circles. These programs have been established in hundreds of communities in this
country as well as in Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Cuyahoga County is only beginning to explore how to implement restorative justice.
A conference held in 1997, sponsored by the Presbytery of the Western Reserve, brought
community and criminal justice system representatives together to learn about restorative jus-
tice. Judge Nancy Margaret Russo, inspired by the conference, began to meet informally with
key leaders to explore developing restorative justice in Cuyahoga County. Once significant
interest was established, Judge Russo turned the work over to the Maxine Goodman Levin
Court User’s Guide 4
College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. As a result, the Restorative Justice
Committee of Cuyahoga County, in addition to developing this Court User’s Guide, is currently
striving to create a network of interested people and organizations, survey the county to learn
of efforts that are consistent with restorative justice, and hold educational events. If you are
interested in the work of the Restorative Justice Committee, please contact Mark Chupp, Maxine
Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, at [email protected] or 216-523-7568.
A special note of gratitude goes to Janis Bowdler and Jill Roderus, graduate assistants
at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, who dedicated many hours and
provided leadership in making this publication a reality.
This guide would not have been possible without the generous support of the Cuyahoga
County Commissioners, who provided a grant for the development and publication of the
Court User’s Guide.
Timothy McCormack, President
Jimmy Dimora
Peter Lawson Jones
The Cuyahoga County Restorative Justice Committee includes representation from
the diverse sectors of the criminal justice system and community. Participants who collabo-
rated with the Court User’s Guide include:
Susan Bartel, student at the Levin College of Urban Affairs
Janis Bowdler, Levin College of Urban Affairs graduate assistant
Courtney Brennan, Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Heidi Cecil, Families United for Reform
Michael Cheselka, The Cherus Group
Mark Chupp, Levin College of Urban Affairs
Hillary Goldberg Zashin, formerly of the Cuyahoga County Office of the Prosecutor
Juan Hernandez, Cuyahoga County Office of Public Defender
Ginny Hearn, student at Kent State University
Renee Jones, Renee Jones Empowerment Services
Judge Mary Eileen Kilbane, Cleveland Municipal Court
Debbi Melaragno, Parents of Murdered Children
Kathy Moore, Cuyahoga County Office of Public Defender
Darcy Moulin, Cuyahoga County Office of the Prosecutor
Charles Murray, Catholic Commission
Gail Nanowsky, Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court
Dr. Wornie Reed, Levin College of Urban Affairs
5 Court User’s Guide
Jill Roderus, Levin College of Urban Affairs graduate assistant
Judge Nancy Margaret Russo, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
Dorothy Sanelli, Parents of Murdered Children
Judge Peter Sikora, Juvenile Court
Mary Jane Thomas, Parents of Murdered Children
Tracy Martin Peebles, Cuyahoga County Office of the Prosecutor, Community-Based
This is NOT legal advice. This guide is meant for informational purposes only and by no
means should be considered legal advice. It is always recommended that an attorney be con-
sulted for legal advice.
Howard Zehr, Changing Lenses: A New Focus on Crime and Justice, Scottdale, PA: Herold Press, 1990.
Court User’s Guide 6
The Basics 9
The Criminal Justice System 13
The Juvenile Justice System 21
Offenders and the Accused 29
Victims and Survivors of Crime 41
Being A Witness 55
Jury Duty 61
Glossary 67
Appendix 77
Court User’s Guide 8
The Basics
The Basics
Where do I go if I have to go to Court?
That depends on what kind of case it is. You may need to go to Municipal Court or Common
Pleas Court. Common Pleas Court is made up of four division: Juvenile, Probate, Domestic
Relations and the General Division. Your summons should let you know in what court you are
expected to appear.
If you need to go to Common Pleas Court, the General Division, in Cuyahoga County then
you will be going to the Justice Center. The Justice Center is located in downtown Cleveland.
The address is 1200 Ontario Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44113-1678. The Justice Center is open
from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is closed for all federal and state
holidays. The map below shows the location of the Justice Center. You will find a directory in
the back of this book with the office location of the individual Judge.
What are Common Pleas Courts?
In Ohio, every county has a common pleas court consisting of one or more judges. A com-
mon pleas court hears cases involving such matters as real estate, personal injury, breach of
contract, marital conflicts, and business relationships. This is also the court that hears criminal
felony cases.
What is Juvenile Court?
A juvenile court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear cases involving children under the age of 18
alleged to be delinquent, unruly, abused, neglected or dependent. This court also determines
issues of paternity, custody, and child support in cases involving children who have been born
out of wedlock, or if no action for divorce has been filed in the common pleas court, domestic
relations division.
Where is Juvenile Court?
Juvenile Court’s main office is located downtown at 2163 East 22nd Street on the corner of East
22nd Street and Cedar Road. Parking around this building is rather limited. Allow plenty of
time to find parking when coming to Juvenile Court.
What are Municipal Courts?
Municipal courts have limited jurisdiction and can hear only civil cases that fall within that
Court User’s Guide 10
The Basics
court’s territorial area and only if the claim does not exceed $15,000 (jurisdiction may refer
either to the geographical area or to the type of case over which a court has authority). In
criminal cases, these courts are limited to hearing only misdemeanor offenses.
Where are Municipal Courts?
Municipal court is held within each jurisdiction. Cleveland Municipal Court is held in the
Justice Center. To find out where any municipal court is held contact that court.
What is Probate Court?
Each county has a probate court as part of the common pleas court. The probate court is
generally charged with overseeing the administration of estates upon the death of an indi-
vidual who dies while a resident of the state. Probate courts also issue marriage licenses and
have jurisdiction over adoptions, name changes, and competency hearings. Probate judges
may perform marriages.
Tips for getting to and around the Justice Center
· Allow plenty of time to find parking. There are many lots around the Justice Center
that charge reasonable rates.
· Make sure to allow yourself at least thirty minutes after getting into the building to go
through security and on the elevators. Many people work and do business everyday in
the Justice Center. It is quite congested in the mornings.
There is a cafeteria on the 4th Floor of the Justice Center that is very reasonably priced. There
are also many restaurants of varying price levels in the area.
11 Court User’s Guide
The Basics
Cuyahoga County Court Contact Numbers
General Division
(216) 443-8560
Domestic Relations
(216) 443-8800
(Divorce, dissolution of marriage, child custody)
Probate Court
(216) 443-8979
Juvenile Court
(216) 443-8400
Other Contact Numbers
Ohio State Bar Association
Debby Cooper
Information contained in this section is taken from the Cuyahoga County Website, www.cuyahoga.oh.us/
Court User’s Guide 12
The Criminal Justice System
This is NOT legal advice. The information contained in this section and throughout
the guide is meant for informational purposes only. You are advised to seek proper
legal advice in regards to any specific legal matters.
The Criminal Justice System
What is a crime?
A crime is a wrongful act that violates a federal, state or municipal law and causes injury or
harm to persons or society as a whole. The criminal statutes of Ohio specifically define what
acts constitute a crime and whether such a criminal act is a felony or misdemeanor offense.
What is a felony?
A felony is a crime that is more serious than a misdemeanor, for which the potential punish-
ment is incarceration in a prison for 6 months or more. Felonies are classified F1-F5, with F1
being the most serious.
What is a misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is a crime that is punished less seriously than a felony, and for which the
punishment will not exceed 1 year (usually in a jail or local facility). Misdemeanors are classi-
fied M1-M4, with M4 being the most serious.
What has to be proven to convict a defendent of a crime?
The prosecuting attorney must prove the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt.
What is a criminal investigation?
When the police receive a report of a crime, investigating officers are sent to the scene to
collect evidence, preserve the crime scene, investigate potential defendants, and prepare re-
ports of their findings. Some investigations result in an arrest, some do not. It depends on the
evidence gathered.
What is an arrest?
An arrest is when a person is taken into custody. An arrest does not mean that an individual is
guilty. Our legal system assumes that a person is innocent until proven guilty.
Court User’s Guide 14
The Criminal Justice System
What is probable cause?
Probable cause means there is reasonable suspicion, based on credible evidence, that a person
has committed a crime. It does not mean there is sufficient evidence to convict.
What is an indictment?
An indictment is the statement of charges made against a person by a Grand Jury. The indict-
ment is simply the means by which the defendant and the courts are notified that charges have
been brought. It is not evidence and does not mean a defendant is guilty.
How are criminal charges brought against a defendant?
There are three basic ways in which criminal charges may be brought: information, indictment,
or citation. Information is a written allegation filed by a prosecuting attorney, alleging that the
defendant has committed a crime. An indictment is a criminal charge issued by a Grand Jury. A
citation is a charge issued by a police officer, generally for a minor criminal matter or traffic
What happens after formal criminal charges have been filed?
A defendant may be brought before the court for a preliminary hearing in order to have his
rights and the nature of the criminal charges explained. For lesser offenses, the defendant will
ordinarily be asked to enter a plea of “guilty,” or “not guilty.” In felony cases, an arraignment
will be held.
What is an arraignment?
An arraignment takes place when the defendant is officially notified of the charges against
him, the defendant enters a plea, the judge is assigned, an attorney is appointed, and bond is
What is bail?
Bail is money or security that is posted with the court to assure that the defendant will appear
in court for subsequent proceedings and trial. Bail money can be raised through the services of
a bail bondsman. The bail bondsman charges a fee for posting bond and will require collateral
from the defendant. The court may not set bail unreasonably high, and has the option of
releasing a defendant on his own recognizance, meaning that bail need not be posted. If a
defendant released on his or her own recognizance thereafter fails to appear, the court will
issue a bench warrant for the defendant’s arrest.
15 Court User’s Guide
The Criminal Justice System
What happens if a defendant pleads “guilty” or “no contest?”
If the defendant pleads guilty, the court will set a date for sentencing. For minor crimes, sen-
tence may be imposed immediately. A plea of no contest, or “nolo contendere”, means that
the defendant does not contest the charge, but does not specifically admit guilt; it is the equiva-
lent of a guilty plea, however it will not be considered to be an admission of guilt in the event
the victim later sues the defendant in a civil proceeding. For example, if a person accused of
drunk driving pleads “no contest,” the plea cannot be used as admission in a damages action
filed by a party injured as a result of the defendants drunk driving. A judge generally has the
right to reject a “no contest” plea.
What are plea bargains?
In a plea bargain, the state and the defendant negotiate a plea and penalties that are reasonable
under the circumstances, taking into account the probabilities of a conviction or acquittal.
Whatever plea bargain is reached, it must be accepted by a judge. Most plea bargains require
that the defendant admit to being guilty of an offense.
What happens between the arraignment and the trial?
A State attorney (or prosecutor) and the defense attorney will exchange information (discov-
ery), interview witnesses, and meet at pre-trials set by the Court.
What is a pre-trial?
A pre-trial is a meeting between the judge and all attorneys to establish the issues and guide-
lines of a trial, exchange information (discovery), or to attempt to conclude the matter before
the trial.
How are criminal trials conducted?
A criminal case may be heard by a judge (bench trial) or a jury. The sixth amendment entitles
the defendant to a speedy trial, that is, the right not to be detained in jail or have the trial
unreasonably delayed for long periods. The first stage of trial is the jury selection. At that time,
jurors will be asked questions by the judge and attorneys to establish that they do not have any
biases for or against the defendant. This is called “voir dire.” Attorneys make opening state-
ments. This is followed by presentation of the State’s evidence. The defendant may present
evidence after the State has done so, but the defendant is not required to do so. This is because
the burden of proof is on the State to prove the defendant is guilty. The defendant does not
have to prove his or her innocence. After all the evidence has been presented, the attorneys
Court User’s Guide 16
The Criminal Justice System
make closing arguments. That is followed by instructions of law from the judge and delibera-
tions for a verdict.
What determines the sentence that the judge will impose?
The judge is required to follow the laws of the State of Ohio when imposing a sentence.
What is community control?
Community control is a legal term, referring to a form of felony sentence for crimes, effective
on those committed after July 1, 1996, and was created by the legislature to replace the term
What is post-release control?
Post-release control is similar to “parole,” and is a form of supervision by the Ohio Parole
Board placed upon defendants after they leave prison.
17 Court User’s Guide
The Criminal Justice System
This is just a basic flow chart. All cases will follow the steps and time-line that are necessary for
that case.
Criminal Complaint Suspect is Arrested at
is Filed Crime Scene
Approximately 1-3 days
Investigation Initial Appearance in
Takes Place Municipal Court
Yes Preliminary Hearing?
Preliminary Hearing in
Municipal Court
Bound Charges are
No Dropped
Pre -Trial
This page taken with permission from the
Sentenced or Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s website http://
Acquittal www.Cuyahoga.oh.us/sheriff/default.htm
Court User’s Guide 18
The Criminal Justice System
Explanation of Flow Chart of the Criminal Justice Process
When a criminal complaint is filed or suspect is arrested at a crime scene there are two avenues
that may be taken: (1) The case may be investigated and presented to a Grand Jury, and (2) The
case may be presented to Municipal Court. A Grand Jury is composed of nine jurors who
listen to evidence and testimony presented by the prosecutor. Only the prosecutor questions
witnesses in Grand Jury proceedings. The Grand Jury presentation and deliberations are se-
cret. Usually, the accused defendant is not present.
If the case is presented to Municipal Court, an initial appearance hearing is held to advise the
defendant of the charges against him and to set bail. The defendant decides whether or not to
waive the preliminary hearing. If a preliminary hearing is waived the case is bound over to
Common Pleas Court to pursue filing charges. If the preliminary hearing is not waived, the
Municipal Court has fifteen days in which to hold the hearing if the defendant is not in jail or
ten days to hold the hearing if the defendant is in jail. Witnesses may testify at a preliminary
hearing. The defendant usually is present and represented by an attorney. The defendant’s
attorney may question witnesses. If the Judge determines probable cause has been estab-
lished, the case is bound over to Common Pleas Court.
When a Grand Jury or Municipal Court finds probable cause, an indictment is issued. An
indictment is the official notice by the Common Pleas Court to the defendant that probable
cause has been found and the felony charges are pending. An arraignment hearing is held to
obtain the defendant’s plea. The defendant can enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
If a plea of guilty or no contest is entered, the judge will likely find the defendant guilty. If the
defendant pleads not guilty, a pretrial conference will be set.
At the pretrial conference, defense counsel and the prosecutor discuss any evidence and law
that applies to the case. Plea discussions are held. If no plea agreement is entered the case will
proceed to trial. A defendant has a constitutional right to a speedy trial. If the defendant has
not waived his right for speedy trial, the prosecutor has 270 days to take the case to trial if the
defendant is not in jail, or 90 days to take the case to trial if the defendant is in jail.
At trial, the defense has a right to choose a Judge (bench) or jury trial. Opening arguments are
held; then, the prosecutor puts on its case against the accused. The defendant may or may not
present evidence at trial. The burden of proof is on the prosecutor to prove beyond a reason-
19 Court User’s Guide
The Criminal Justice System
able doubt that the accused committed the crime. If the prosecutor cannot prove, beyond a
reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime, then an acquittal is granted. If the
defendant is found guilty, the case moves into the sentencing stage.
Before sentencing the defendant, the judge will usually order a pre-sentencing investigation
(PSI). This pre-sentencing investigation is conducted by the probation department. The
probation department will gather information about the defendant’s history, employment, family
status, and case information. Based upon this information, the probation department will
make a sentencing recommendation to the judge. The judge will consider the PSI report, any
statements made by the defendants, family, victim or others at the sentencing hearing, and
sentence the defendant within the guidelines provided by the laws of the State of Ohio.
Court User’s Guide 20
The Juvenile Justice System
This is NOT legal advice. The information contained in this section and throughout
the guide is meant for informational purposes only. You are advised to seek proper
legal advice in regards to any specific legal matters.
The Juvenile Justice System
What is the mission of the Juvenile Court?
The Juvenile Court’s mission encompasses several goals including; protecting and caring for
children (persons under the age of 18) who come before the Court; guarding the public inter-
est and use of public funds effectively; achieving the foregoing purposes in a family environ-
ment, whenever possible, and through community involvement; and resolving proceedings
according to principles of justice, by giving parties fair hearings and upholding their legal rights.
What kind of cases are handled in the Juvenile Court?
The Juvenile Court’s jurisdiction encompasses a broad range of cases, including cases involv-
ing the following types of children:
Delinquent Child – a child who has committed an act which, if committed by an
adult, would be considered a crime (for example, murder, rape assault and theft).
Unruly Child – a child who has committed an act that is illegal for children, but which
would not be considered illegal if committed by an adult (for example, truancy, incorrigibility,
curfew violations).
Abused Child – a child who has been intentionally harmed (mentally, physically, or
sexually) by the caretaker
Neglected Child – a child who has not received proper care, due to the caretaker’s
Dependent Child – A child who has been harmed, through no fault of the caretaker.
Juvenile Traffic Offender – A child who has violated a traffic law, other than a law
dealing with parking violations.
Court User’s Guide 22
The Juvenile Justice System
What is the process of the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court?
The process used in resolving Juvenile Court cases depends on the type of case.
Delinquency and Unruly Cases
Police or other persons present information about possible delinquent or unruly chil-
dren to the court. If the information is sufficient, and alternatives like the court’s diversion
program or mediation are not appropriate, an official complaint is filed.
Where an official complaint is filed, a hearing is held to read the complaint to the
child, explain the purposes and consequences of the proceedings, and inform the child of his
or her rights. If the child is indigent, he or she will be referred to the Public Defender’s Office
or assigned counsel. In some situations, the child may be transferred to a criminal court for
prosecution as an adult.
After arraignment, the court holds a hearing to determine whether the child is delin-
quent or unruly. The court makes this determination only after considering both sides of the
Following adjudication, the court decides what action will be taken with the child. As
examples, the child may be released under parental supervision, placed on probation or com-
mitted to a residential facility. Where there is insufficient evidence of delinquency or unruly
behavior, the court will dismiss the case. (If not a resident of Cuyahoga County the juvenile
will be referred to their home county for disposition.)
Court records must be expunged (erased or destroyed) if the complaint against a child
is dismissed. Even where the complaint is not dismissed the child may petition to have some
court records sealed when two years have passed following the termination of proceedings.
When records are expunged or sealed, the case is treated as if it never occurred.
23 Court User’s Guide
The Juvenile Justice System
Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Cases
A child welfare agency, police, or other persons present information about possible
abuse, neglect, and dependency cases to the court. If warranted, an official complaint is filed.
The court may immediately order the Department of Children & Family Services to care for
the child in the event of an emergency.
Preliminary Hearing
Soon after the case is initiated, the court holds a preliminary hearing to explain the
rights of the parents and appoint a Guardian ad Litem to represent the child’s interests. If the
parents cannot afford an attorney, they may be referred to the Public Defender’s Office.
After the preliminary hearing, the court holds a hearing to determine whether the
child is abused, neglected or dependent. The court makes this determination only after con-
sidering both sides of the case.
Following adjudication, the court decides what action will be taken with the child. As
an example, the court may order the Department of Children & Family Services to care for the
child for a period of time. If there is insufficient evidence of abuse, neglect, or dependency,
the Court will dismiss the case.
Traffic Cases
The Traffic Unit receives and reviews a child’s traffic citation.
If the traffic offense is serious enough, a hearing is held to read the citation to the
child and explain the purposes and consequences of the proceedings. The child may waive a
hearing for a less serious offense, so long as it is the first offense within a twelve-month period.
Where there is a waiver, the child is ordered to pay fines and costs, and the case ends.
Court User’s Guide 24
The Juvenile Justice System
After the arraignment, if there is no waiver, the court holds a hearing to determine
whether the child is a juvenile traffic offender. The court makes this determination only after
considering both sides of the case.
Following adjudication, the court decides what action will be taken with the child. If
the child is found to be a juvenile traffic offender, the court may assess fines and costs, order
probation, restrict driving privileges, or require attendance at driving classes. Where there is
insufficient evidence that the child has violated a traffic law, the court will dismiss the case.
What services does the Juvenile Court provide?
Judicial Services
Judges and magistrates serve as impartial officers of the court, who conduct hearings and
decide the outcome of cases. The court has six judges, including an administrative judge.
Judges are elected to six-year terms in county-wide elections. Magistrates are appointed by the
court to assist judges in hearing cases.
Detention Services
Detention service professionals supervise children who are awaiting resolution of delinquency
cases or placement at residential facilities. Such children may eventually require placement in a
detention center or other similar facility.
Probation and Community Services
Probation service professionals provide information to assist judges and magistrates in dis-
posing of cases. These professionals, together with community service professionals, also
supervise children who are found delinquent or unruly but not placed in residential facilities.
They use various programs to deter delinquent and unruly behavior. Such programs include
substance abuse treatment programs and programs that match children with adults who pro-
vide support and guidance.
Legal Services
Legal service professionals including Assigned Counsel, Guardians ad Litem and Public Defend-
ers, may be appointed by the court to assist in juvenile cases. These professionals keep current
25 Court User’s Guide
The Juvenile Justice System
on changes in juvenile law and ensure that the court responds to those changes. They also
advise children on matters of juvenile law as well as Juvenile Court proceedings.
What is a Guardian ad Litem?
Guardian ad Litems are officers of the court who advocate for the best interest of the children
involved in juvenile court proceedings. Within the context of the individual case the Guardian
ad Litem fulfills the multi-disciplinary role of investigator, advocate, facilitator, case monitor
and referral source for children and families in crisis. In so doing, the Guardian ad Litem insures
that the child at issue receives those services necessary to meet the child’s health, safety, educa-
tional, therapeutic, social and habilitation needs.
Main Offices
Main Court
2163 E. 22nd Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 443-8400
Courtrooms; Administration; Court Services; Probation
Walter G. Whitlatch Building
1910 Carnegie Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 443-5005
Child Support Services; Probation;Traffic; Custody Mediation
Metzenbaum Building
3343 Community College
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 443-2700
Court User’s Guide 26
The Juvenile Justice System
Branch Offices
Near West Office University Circle Office
4115 Bridge Avenue 10605 Chester Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44113 Cleveland, Ohio 44106
(216) 281-1630 (216) 795-3497
Intake; Probation Intake; Probation
East Cleveland Office South East Office
15815 Euclid Avenue 5311 Northfield Road
Cleveland, Ohio 44112 Bedford, Ohio 44136
(216) 851-3019 (216) 663-6583
Intake; Probation Intake; Probation
Lakewood Office The St. Clair Building
12650 Detroit Avenue 1801 St. Clair Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107 Cleveland, Ohio 44114
(216) 521-0334 (216) 443-8446
Intake Intake; Probation
South West Office
5361 Pearl Road
Parma, Ohio 44129
(216) 749-1200
Intake; Probation
Contact Numbers
Cuyahoga County Bar Association Guardian ad Litem Project
(216) 443-3377
27 Court User’s Guide
Court User’s Guide 28
Offenders and the Accused
This is NOT legal advice. The information contained in this section and throughout
the guide is meant for informational purposes only. You are advised to seek proper
legal advice in regards to any specific legal matters.
Offenders and the Accused
Please read the section of this booklet entitled The Criminal Justice System for more information about each
step in the criminal justice process.
What is an arrest?
An arrest is when a person is taken into custody. An arrest does not mean that an individual is
guilty. Our legal system assumes that a person is innocent until proven guilty.
What procedures must be followed during an arrest?
The police do not have to inform defendants of the nature of the alleged crime nor do they
have to advise defendants of their Miranda rights unless they intend to conduct an interroga-
tion. The police may not use excessive force during the arrest.
What is the Miranda Rule?
The Miranda Rule was developed to protect defendants’ right against self-incrimination. The
Miranda warnings ensure that people in custody realize that they do not have to talk to the
police and have a right to an attorney. The warning must advise the defendant that they have a
right to remain silent, a right to an attorney, that an attorney will be appointed if the defendant
cannot afford one, and that statements made voluntarily can be used in a subsequent criminal
proceeding. If the Miranda warnings are not given, a defendant is not entitled to dismissal of
criminal charges. Rather, any statements made by a defendant who has not been Mirandized
are inadmissible in the criminal case.
When is a defendant in custody?
The law considers a suspect in custody when they have been arrested or deprived of their
freedom of movement in a significant way, e.g., when handcuffed or placed in the back of a
police car.
Court User’s Guide 30
Offenders and the Accused
What is an interrogation?
An interrogation by the police consists of direct or indirect questioning, intended or likely to
elicit incriminating information.
How do I find out what charges have been filed against me?
The clerk of courts is responsible for keeping records of all charges. To find out if charges
have been filed, call the clerk of courts of the city in which the crime is alleged to have oc-
curred. Charges may be filed at any time. You will be notified by mail of any felony indict-
ment. The indictment will be mailed to the address you provided during the booking process.
What should I expect when I am arrested and in custody?
The first step in the custody process is booking. The booking process includes gathering of
pertinent information needed to allow the Corrections Center staff to better meet the inmate’s
needs during confinement. During the booking process, the offender is properly searched and
all personal property is confiscated, recorded, and secured. Personal property is listed in an
inventory, which includes an objective description of each item. The offender’s signature is
attached to the completed inventory or, if unobtainable, the accuracy of the inventory shall be
witnessed by a third party.
The inmate is interviewed by various people, fingerprinted and photographed. He or she will
be asked to provide his/her current address. He or she receives a medical intake screening, and
a jail issue of clothing, bedding, and toiletry items. If there are further questions, please con-
tact the Warden’s Office at 216-443-6125.
Any prisoner not having articles for maintaining personal hygiene (i.e., toothpaste, toothbrush,
feminine hygiene items) may obtain these items upon request from the confining authority.
How long can the police hold a suspect before filing charges? How can I get
out of jail after being arrested?
If the police have probable cause to believe that a suspect has committed a crime, they
may detain the suspect for a reasonable period of time, usually less than 72 hours.
After this period, the police must release the suspect or file formal charges and bring
the defendant before a judge.
31 Court User’s Guide
Offenders and the Accused
What are my rights while in custody?
Please refer to the Minimum Standards for Jails in Ohio (see previous footnote) for a description
of the policies and procedures for reception and release of inmates that must be followed in all
jails in Ohio. Additional rules might apply to a particular jail. Nothing contained in the Mini-
mum Standards for Jails in Ohio shall be construed to prohibit a city, county, or combined city
and/or county agency operating a local detention facility from adopting standards and require-
ments governing its own employees and facilities, provided that such rules meet or exceed and
do not conflict with these standards.
Can I make phone calls?
During the admissions process, all persons to be confined in a local jail are permitted to make
telephone calls to retain an attorney or contact a person of their choice. Additional calls to
legal counsel will be provided for unsentenced prisone

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