Cuyahoga County

Centralized booking among court reform goals of Prosecutor O'Malley

1/17/2017

Newly elected Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley brings a spirit of cooperation to his job that may bode well for local efforts at court reform.

In an interview with cleveland.com, he said he will work with judges and attorneys across the spectrum to bring greater efficiency and fairness to the criminal justice system.

O'Malley, who was an assistant prosecutor under the last two prosecutors, Timothy J. McGinty and Bill Mason, arrives on the scene as court reforms are underway.

Cleveland Municipal Court, for example, recently adopted a risk-assessment method developed by the nonprofit Laura and John Arnold Foundation that is expected to help judges make more informed bail decisions.

And John J. Russo, chief judge of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, has formed committees to study bail reform and other issues to determine where improvements might be made.

During the interview, O'Malley weighed in on the Arnold Foundation assessment method and other possible reforms, including a centralized booking process that some see as a panacea for the county's uneven criminal justice system.

Most criminal cases in Cuyahoga County now start in one of 13 municipal courts, where bond is set. If the charge is a felony, the case is transferred to the Common Pleas Court for prosecution by O'Malley's office in front of one of 34 judges.

Here are some of O'Malley's thoughts on the current state of criminal justice in the county and the direction it may be headed.

Click here to read the full interview on cleveland.com.