Cuyahoga County

Criminal justice leaders hold training, promise to collaborate to better protect domestic violence victims

12/30/2014 5:45:00 PM

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- After what one judge called a "horrific" fall that included a spike in domestic violence-related deaths, more than 250 prosecutors, judges, police officers and domestic violence advocates gathered for daylong training with an eye toward preventing similar murders in the future.

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office put together the event in the wake of the high-profile cases that exposed gaps in the justice system's ability to protect victims and their families.

In September alone, three mothers, Malorie Ferrell, Glorimar Ramos-Perez and Aura Morales were killed.

The following month, 12-year-old DaVia Garth was killed, authorities say, by her stepfather, who had just gotten off probation for a domestic violence conviction. Those were just four of at least a dozen abuse-related killings this year.

Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said those deaths "forced all of us in the criminal justice system to do some soul searching and to rethink the way we do things."

Part of that process involved hearing from experts on how to better figure out which cases could turn fatal and how to better hold abusers accountable in court and afterward if on probation in the community.

McGinty said everyone involved needs from the beginning of a case to look at the potential for future violence by looking at an offender's past records and actions.

Cleveland Municipal Judge Ronald Adrine said the rapid succession of deaths this summer sparked a new resolve to collaborate, rather than operate in silos that can leave victims unprotected.

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