Cuyahoga County

Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor prohibit any child under Court supervision from possessing a facsimile firearm

1/26/2016

Cleveland Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office are launching another initiative designed to improve community safety and the accountability of juveniles and other offenders under the court’s jurisdiction.

Beginning this Friday, January 29, 2016, youths under the supervision of the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court will be prohibited from possessing any air gun, air pistol, air rifle, spring gun, spring pistol, BB gun, pellet gun, or other object that a reasonable person could perceive to be an actual weapon or firearm.

The reason for the new condition is plain.  In an effort to avoid the serious consequences of unlawful possession of real firearms, juveniles and others under the supervision of the court have used or possessed replica weapons to engage in violent or intimidating conduct.  For example, earlier this month, Cleveland police arrested a 14-year-old boy who had been using a replica gun to commit robberies in the Bellaire-Puritas neighborhood.  He is facing Aggravated Robbery charges in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court.   

The policy announced today will allow the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court to detain and, when appropriate, revoke pretrial release, or probation for those under its jurisdiction who are found with these lookalike weapons.       

Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court and the Prosecutor’s Office expect that these new and comprehensive conditions will deter juveniles and others under the court’s jurisdiction from possessing replica firearms.  This in turn should reduce violent encounters between those who possess such devices and other members of the community, including law enforcement officers.

“If this policy prevents a single youth from possessing a replica firearm, and thus averting a potentially tragic incident, this policy supports the Court’s Mission.” said Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Administrative Judge Kristen W. Sweeney. “The Court’s mission is to administer justice, rehabilitate juveniles, support and strengthen families, and promote public safety.”

The Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office are committed to taking all necessary and reasonable steps to improve public safety and hold accountable those in the juvenile justice system.

“We are pleased to join with Judge Sweeney and the Juvenile Court in this effort to make our communities safer by getting these replica weapons off the streets,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty.  “Going forward, we urge the Ohio General Assembly to ban the sale of replica guns.  Adult criminals also use these cheap and readily available fake guns to intimidate their holdup victims.  And the criminals know that by doing so, they can avoid the mandatory three-year sentence that use of a real gun requires.”

Contact: Joseph Frolik, Director of Communications and Public Policy, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. Phone: 216.443.7844 or E-mail jfrolik@prosecutor.cuyahogacouty.us 

Contact: Mary J. Davidson, Media Specialist, Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. Phone: 216.443.6999 or Email: mdavidson@cuyahogacounty.us