“We strive to make our community safe by holding juveniles
accountable to the public and to the victim....
Our efforts to rehabilitate the juvenile offender significantly impact the future state of our community.”
The Juvenile Justice Unit is made up of 18 assistant prosecutors who assist the police and victims both in the determination of charges and the prosecution of juveniles for all criminal offenses. Our approach is guided by a juvenile justice model for prosecution that we have developed.
- We make the determination whether or not to transfer a juvenile to adult court for prosecution.
- We focus on gang related activity, crimes involving guns, and crimes committed in schools.
- We support special juvenile programs that include community diversion, mediation, and drug court to assist with rehabilitation.
- We work with all police agencies in Cuyahoga County.
- We are available around the clock for filing complaints against juveniles.
Two major problems that we deal with today in Juvenile court are Cyber Crime and Gang related offenses.
Our Juvenile Justice Unit has seen a huge increase in crimes involving computers. We have developed a prosecution model to enable our unit to access experts from many law enforcement agencies to assist in the complex issues of prosecuting a case in which a computer was used in the violation of the law.
Over the last 25 years there has been an enormous transformation in the methods and means of stealing others property. These devices can create more havoc and do far greater economic damage than any weapon-toting criminal.
Children have used available Internet software to invade privacy, make threats, stalk and menace others. They create fake identification, counterfeit money and send obscene photographs.
Prosecuting criminal offenses in this area calls for consistency but requires judgment as to what cases need formal charges and what cases can be better served by diversion into one of the many, less formal programs. Currently we are giving great attention to peer-to-peer websites such as MySpace.com and Facebook.com.
Our efforts to foster community safety include actively making parents, schools, and community groups aware of ways they can prevent being victimized.
Cyber Crime Prevention Tips:
- Do not engage in any financial transactions with someone who is a juvenile, absent the presence of a responsible adult.
- When transacting with a juvenile, withhold some part of the exchange until you are satisfied it is legitimate.
- Parents need to know if their children have accounts on any of the peer-to-peer sites (most children with access to computers do have these accounts).
- Parents need to know about the site and can get information by accessing it and reading about what it is and what it does.
- Parents need to talk with their children about the contents of information their child is putting on the site. Risqué photos and other “glamour shots” or personal information (true or not) are often used to do great and sometimes unintended harm when they are launched into cyberspace.
- Kids can use their skills to help parents understand the power of the internet and the potential for innocent looking content from an apparent reputable sender, to harm the unwary.
There has been a sharp rise in violent gang related crime among juveniles including possession and transportation of large quantities of drugs, exotic and lethal weaponry. Our office is engaged in the prosecution of many juvenile gang members.
We advise police during the investigations into gang related activity. The prosecution of these gang members is significant because it gave us the opportunity to develop a prosecution model involving multi-jurisdictional police agencies, gang activity specifications, and pre-charging investigative motions filed with the Court.
Here are some ways you can tell if your child might be involved with a gang.
- An "informal" dress code that is followed by your child, and his or her associates (hats, scarves, jewelry, shoelaces, colors, tattoos and insignias, etc.).
- Street slang, use of new nicknames and hand signs.
- Newly acquired and unexplained "wealth" often displayed, worn or shared with peers.
- Graffiti on personal property, book covers, notebooks and clothing. This graffiti may include initials, numbers, names, expressed racism or hatred of religious groups or sexual preferences.