Cuyahoga County

Meet the Child Support Team

Learn more about
the Child Support Unit


Steven W. Ritz, Unit Supervisor

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Steven W. Ritz has provided over 20 years of public service, including his present employment with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. He received his J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and is presently assigned to assist the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services resolve legal issues. Litigation has included cases before the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, the Eighth District Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Ohio, as well as the federal courts.


  

Farah Emeka, Managing Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Managing Attorney Farah Emeka joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in February 2011, after serving as an administrator for Oberlin College, and a deputy prosecuting attorney for the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in Tacoma, Washington. She received her J.D. from Seattle University School of Law, and her B.A. in Chemistry from Oberlin College. MA Emeka is assigned to the Family Law Division- Child Support Unit, where she manages seven prosecutors and litigates support enforcement cases. In 2014, she was awarded the Pillar of Justice Award for her exemplary work in this office. MA Emeka is proud to be a part of the reorganization of the Child Support Unit, which includes a mission driven approach to support enforcement. MA Emeka is very active in the community. She serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Lorain County Urban League, volunteers with the Cleveland Chapter of the National Black Prosecutor’s Association, and dances professionally with Djapo Cultural Arts Institute of Cleveland, a West African dance ensemble specializing in cultural outreach and awareness.


Terri M. Hammons-Brown, Managing Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Managing Attorney Terri M. Hammons-Brown joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in January 2004. Terri has spent most of her legal career in public service. She earned her B.F.A. Degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and her J.D. Degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Initially working in the private sector after graduating from law school, she gained extensive experience in Civil Litigation, Criminal Defense work, and Domestic Relations. She is currently assigned to the Division of Family Law - Juvenile Child Support Unit, Supervising litigation of paternity and child support enforcement cases on behalf of the State of Ohio and Cuyahoga County Job and Family Services. In the fall of 2013, Terri co-founded the Black Prosecutor’s Association – Cleveland, Ohio and currently serves as Vice-President of Programs. An accomplished dancer in the Urban Ballroom and Chicago Style-Stepping community, Terri has won several dance competitions in the Midwest. She has also received awards and recognition from the dance community for her volunteer work for Good Deeds International in Atlanta, GA which is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting the African American community in national disasters.


Marilyn Orkin Weinberg, Managing Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Marilyn Orkin Weinberg joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in 2000. She spent six years prosecuting abuse, neglect and dependency cases for the Children and Family Services Unit and then transferred to the Child Support Unit of the Family Law Division in 2006. She is dedicated to helping children and improving the lives of families. She earned her J.D. from The Ohio State University and also earned her B.A. in Journalism from The Ohio State University. Prior to joining the Prosecutor’s Office, she spent a number of years doing legal research and writing, with an emphasis on business law.


Jessica Alvis, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jessica Alvis joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office after receiving her J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. She also has earned her B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from John Carroll University. Jessica is currently responsible for prosecuting abuse, neglect, and dependency cases for the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services. Jessica’s commitment to the community is demonstrated through her volunteer program with the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center where she teaches African American history.


Timothy W. Clary, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Timothy W. Clary joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office after several years in private practice. He received his J.D. from Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and earned his B.A. in History from John Carroll University. As an APA for the Child Support Enforcement Unit, Timothy is responsible for child support enforcement related subjects before the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. As an attorney in private practice, Timothy represented clients in domestic relations cases, major class actions, and general commercial litigation. Timothy has practiced in federal court and is admitted in the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division. He is member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association as well as the National Eagle Scout Association.


Robert H. Grano, Jr., Assistant County Prosecutor

Assistant County Prosecutor Robert H. Grano, Jr. joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office after two years of private practice on January 13, 1986. He earned his B.A. in Economics from Heidelberg College and his J.D. Degree from The University of Toledo College of Law. From 1993 to 2001, he was the Prosecutor in Charge of the URESA/UIFSA Unit of the Child Support Enforcement Unit until it was merged with the Child Support Enforcement Unit in the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court. The majority of his 30 years in the office have been devoted to Child Support Enforcement, specializing in out of state child support cases. He successfully argued the case of Cruz v. Cumba-Ortiz before the Ohio Supreme Court in 2007, recovering over $57,000.00 in past child support for a severely mentally handicapped woman, and in 2012, he was selected as one of Cleveland’s Top Rated Lawyers for 2012 by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubble in the specialty of Family Law.


Amy Guilford, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Amy Guilford joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in October of 2013. Amy works in the Division of Family Law – Child Support Unit. Amy graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in Political Science in 2009 before graduating from Capital University Law School in 2012. At Capital, Amy was involved with Moot Court and the CLS. Before coming to the Prosecutor’s Office, Amy was employed as an attorney at a small general law firm in Northwest Ohio, in which she handled cases in Common Pleas Court including the General, Juvenile, and Probate Divisions.


Antoinease L. Herring, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Antoinease L. Herring joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in June 2013. Prior to joining the office, she worked in private practice at a firm in Columbus, Ohio. Antoinease received her J.D. from The Ohio State University, where she also earned her B.A. in history and political science. She helps represent the Cuyahoga County Job and Family Services – Office of Child Support Services in establishing paternity, establishing child support orders, and enforcing child support orders before the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, Juvenile Division. Prior to receiving her J.D., she served as a law clerk for Judge Kim Browne at the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in the Domestic Relations and Juvenile Division. She also served as a legal intern with the Delaware City Prosecutor’s Office and as a Mediator with the Franklin County Municipal Court.


Tyessa V. Howard, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Attorney Tyessa V. Howard received her law Juris Doctor (JD) from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 2011. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Ursuline College in 2003, and is a graduate of John Marshall High School. She has held several positions in the legal field both while in law school and after graduation. Her experiences have given her the opportunity to assist in providing representation to clients in a variety of civil areas including child support and child custody, perform research, draft legal documents, and conduct pretrials and mediations. She currently serves as Co-Chair for the Community Outreach Committee of the Norman S. Minor Bar Association. She is a member of the Ohio Innocence Project Advocacy Board here in Cleveland, as well as the Ohio State Bar Association.


Kira S. Kittoe-Krivosh, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kira S. Kittoe-Krivosh is proud of her many years in public service. Kira joined the Division of Family Law- Child Support Unit of the Prosecutor’s Office in 2013. She previously worked for the City of Canton Law Department, the City of Garfield Heights Law Department, and Stark County Family Court. She has spent her career in government service, and is dedicated to providing justice to the residents of Cuyahoga County. She graduated from Kent State University, where she earned a B.A. in Political Science. She received her J.D. from Cleveland State University. Prior to receiving her J.D., she was a law clerk for Ritzler, Coughlin and Swansinger Ltd. Kira is considerably active in the community. She plans and promotes fundraisers for local animal rescue groups, including serving as the Board Vice President for the Citizens Committee for Lakewood Animal Shelter. Additionally, by serving on Management Council for the Junior League of Cleveland, she helps motivate and inspire other young professional women to become more active in the community, encourages them to donate their time to volunteer and mentors them as they grow within the League.

Tracy D. Ly, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Tracy Nichols joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office after receiving her J.D. from The University of Akron School of Law. She also has earned her B.S. in Criminal Justice from Tennessee State University and an M.P.A. from The University of Akron. Prior to receiving her J.D., she was a law clerk for the Honorable Annalisa S. Williams in the Akron Municipal Court, and served as a legal extern for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – Hearings Unit as well as Summit County Children Services.


Birgit Mace, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Birgit (“Birdie”) Mace joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in 1998, as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the Juvenile Child Support Unit. Her dedication to the child support area resulted in her promotion to ‘In-Charge’ attorney in 2010. In 2015, she continued her service as in house counsel to the Child Support agency. She began her career in public service in 1982, as a trooper with the Pennsylvania State Police. She was promoted to criminal investigator within the force in 1985, and served a total of five years as a police officer. Additional public service includes her tenure as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Athens County from 1994 through 1998, where she worked in the Appeals, Felony Trials, and Civil Units.

Kushtrime Musmurati, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kushtrime Musmurati joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office on January 4, 2014. She earned her B.A. in Political Science, International Studies, and German from Baldwin-Wallace College and her J.D. Degree from The University of Akron School of Law. Prior to joining the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, she worked as a certified legal intern in the Criminal Division for the Akron City Prosecutor. Prior to her internship with the Akron City Prosecutor, she worked as a legal assistant, researching, participating in client interviewing, and preparing documents under the supervision of an attorney for Margaret Wong & Associates, Co., LPA, in Cleveland, Ohio.


Stephen Neumeyer, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Stephen Neumeyer joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in December 2013. Prior to coming to Cuyahoga County, Stephen was a magistrate in Summit County Probate Court and was an assistant prosecutor in Summit County prosecuting child support, dependency and neglect, and adult felony cases. Stephen obtained his B.A. in Interpersonal and Public Communication and his J.D. from The University of Akron. Prior to receiving his J.D., he was also a law clerk for Judge Robert Brown in the Wayne County Court of Common Pleas.



Gabriel R. Rivera, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gabriel Rivera is proud of his years of public service in Cuyahoga County. He began his career with the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court as a Judicial Staff Attorney in 2009. He joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney with the Office of Child Support Services in 2014. He received his J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 2008. He also earned his B.A. in Sociology/Criminal Justice from John Carroll University. Prior to receiving his J.D., he was a law clerk at the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office assisting the General Felony Unit.


Tammy Semanco, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Tammy Semanco joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in June 2001, as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the Department of Children and Family Services Unit, handling abuse, neglect, and dependency cases for over 15 years. She earned her J.D. from the University of Akron. She has also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from John Carroll University and a Masters of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University. In November 2013, Tammy transferred to the Child Support Enforcement Unit, where she currently represents the Office of Child Support Services in Domestic Relations and UIFSA child support actions. Prior to receiving her J.D., she worked as an Administrative Assistant and Quality Assurance Coordinator for a local mental health agency.

Kestra Smith, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Kestra Smith joined the Office in 1992. She earned a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati and B.A. and B. Mus. degrees from Oberlin College and Oberlin Conservatory. Smith served as legal extern to Judge Nathaniel Jones, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, and later served as the sole staff attorney for Hamilton County Judge Anne Marie Tracey. In the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, Smith has worked in the Preliminary Hearings Unit, the Support Enforcement Unit, the Juvenile Justice Unit, and the General Felony Unit. While in the General Felony Unit, she gained litigation experience, including capital murder and appeals, and was promoted to an In-charge, and later served as one of two General Felony Unit supervisors. She has also served in the Major Trial Unit, Child Victim section, where she had several cases affirmed on appeal. She has overseen the office's Early Intervention Program, and also served as supervisor for the Juvenile Justice Unit, and the Domestic Relations Child Support Unit. She was co-counsel in State v. Phillips, helped implement the nation's first Fugitive Safe Surrender, and led a team to the successful litigation of Pula v. Pula Branch. For several years, she served on the CCPO's Capital Review Committee and oversaw the Office’s Diversity/Inclusion Team. Her community service through the years includes the Cleveland Food Bank, pro bono work, serving as a Sunday school teacher, and Minister of Music at various churches. In 2007, she was honored by the Cleveland Bar for accomplishments in government service.


Daniel Starett, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Starett joined the Child Support Juvenile Court Unit of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in 2010, after receiving his J.D. from Cleveland State University and engaging in the private practice of law doing civil litigation for two years. He has also earned his B.S. in Communications from the Ohio University. He has litigated all manner of support cases on behalf of Cuyahoga County Job and Family Services—Office of Child Support Services before the Juvenile Division of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, and has also addressed appellate issues in the Eighth District Court of Appeals. He also enjoys training his fellow APAs and is always eager to tackle new assignments and expand his knowledge of the law. When he is not in the office, he is active with his local Cub Scout troop and his church.


Danielle N. Taylor, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Danielle N. Taylor joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, Juvenile Child Support Unit in June 2013, after working as the Staff Attorney for the Lorain County Child Support Enforcement Agency. She currently establishes paternity and child support orders as well as enforces child support orders. She earned her J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where she received the Pro Bono and Community Service Award and the CALI Excellence for the Future Award. She earned her B.A., magna cum laude, from Kent State University, where she was a Senior Resident Assistant and member of the National Residence Hall Honorary. Prior to receiving her J.D., she also worked as a law clerk for one of the largest family law firms in the state of Ohio, Zashin & Rich Co., L.P.A. She is active in her church and currently serves as a volunteer youth worker for high school students.


Bethany Thomas, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Bethany Thomas joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in 2015. Originally from North Carolina and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bethany moved to Cleveland, OH to attend law school at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. During her time at Case Western, Bethany was a member of the ABA Moot Court Team and a certified legal intern representing indigent clients in court through the Milton A. Kramer Law Clinic. After taking the Ohio bar exam, Bethany held a public interest fellowship at the Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office in Elyria, Ohio. Bethany is proud to continue serving her community as a part of the team at the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.


Natalie Thomas, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Natalie Thomas is dedicated to a career in public service. Natalie joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office in June 2016, working for the Child Support Enforcement Unit. She earned her B.A. in Criminal Justice from Baldwin-Wallace University (College) and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Toledo College of Law. During law school, Natalie was honored with a Jefferson Award in Public Service and volunteered much of her time working with the Toledo Bar Association's Pro Bono Legal Services Office and Legal Aid of Western Ohio/Advocates for Basic Legal Equality. After law school, she relocated to Summerville, South Carolina where she worked for 5 years in her own private general practice firm serving clients through low-bono services. Natalie is happy to be serving the Cuyahoga County community through her work with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.


Janice Walker, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Janice Walker joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in 1998, after working one year as a Public Defender for Cuyahoga County. Prior to that, she worked for three years as a Staff Attorney with the Cleveland Legal Aid Society. Continuing her public service work as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, she was assigned to the Children and Family Services Unit until February 2005. In 2005, she joined the Child Support Establishment and Enforcement Unit. She was promoted to APA In-Charge in 2010. She has prosecuted numerous cases before the jurists in the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. APA Walker also has a Th.M., and she is the founder and CEO of Reviving Hope Ministries, Inc., a non-profit corporation. She is the State of Ohio representative for the National Black Prosecutors Association (NBPA) and a co- founder of the NBPA’s local chapter, the Black Prosecutors Association of Cleveland, Ohio (BPA-CLEO).



Charlie C. Wu, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Charlie joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in May 2014 as a law clerk in the Child Support Unit and the Civil Unit. He became an APA in 2015 after receiving his J.D. with honors from the University of Akron School of Law. He previously worked as a legal intern at the Stark County Prosecutor’s Office, Juvenile Division and the Community Legal Aid in Akron. Charlie is responsible for paternity and child support subjects before the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. He was born in China and speaks Chinese fluently. He came to Northeast Ohio on a student visa in 1998 and became a naturalized citizen in 2013. He volunteers in his church as a recording technician.


Back to top
Back to Meet the Prosecutor's Team main page