Cuyahoga County

Meet Timothy J. McGinty

Timothy J. McGinty is an outspoken advocate for justice in our community, and has been throughout his long career in public service.

As Prosecutor of Cuyahoga County, Mr. McGinty con­tinues to advocate for reforms aimed at restoring public faith in our justice system and increasing safety in order to reinvigorate the community he be­lieves in. Prosecutor McGinty’s public service began right after college when he became a county probation officer and continued when he was hired by the late John T. Corrigan to be a Cuyahoga County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney. Over the next 10 years, he advanced swiftly in the office and handled many of its most important and high-profile cases, including the 1989 prosecution of Ronnie Shelton, the infamous “West Side Rapist.”  In 1992, the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association named him Ohio Prosecutor of the Year.

That same year, he won the first of four elections to the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court bench by ousting an incumbent.  During his more than 18 years as a Common Pleas Court Judge, Mr. McGinty consistently ran one of the county’s most efficient criminal and civil dockets. He also regularly urged his colleagues to be more transparent with the public and to reform the way attorneys are appointed to represent indigent defendants. In 2004, he persuaded the county commissioners to hire the Justice Management Institute, a Denver think tank, to suggest ways to make court system here more efficient and accountable. Those recommendations continue to shape his vision of judicial reform.

 In 2011, Mr. McGinty left the bench to run for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor. He did so because he believes that public safety and honest, effective government are the building blocks of prosperity. Without them, families, individuals and businesses will not invest in Cuyahoga County.

To Prosecutor McGinty, justice is a tan­gible concept, achievable by running a justice system built on the founda­tions of fairness, efficiency, transpar­ency, and accountability to victims, taxpayers, and those charged with crimes.

Since his election in November 2012, Prosecutor McGinty has been working within the Prosecutor’s Office and in the community with our justice system partners to make Cuyahoga County and its citizens safer. Since taking office, Mr. McGinty retained an independent, professional agency to review the Prosecutor’s Office and recommend efficiencies in the organization.

Mr. McGinty has launched a Rape Kit Task Force, under the Cold Case Unit, to address the backlog of evidence waiting to be forensically tested and bring justice to sexual assault victims whose cases have “gone cold.” He has also ad­dressed public corruption through the creation of a specialized Public Corruptions Unit. Additionally, Mr. McGinty has refocused prosecution efforts on the most heinous, repeat offenders, promoted the swift resolution of lower level cases as appropriate, ad­dressed conviction integrity, and has recommitted the Prosecutor’s Office to comprehensive training, perfor­mance based assessments, and  the highest ethical standards.

To meet these objectives, Prosecutor McGinty calls on his col­leagues in the justice system to take up challenging issues affecting our county and encour­ages his Assistant Prosecuting Attor­neys to become more involved and invested in our community through the work and outreach efforts of the Prosecutor’s Office.

Timothy J. McGinty is a lifelong Cuyahoga County resident. He graduated from St. Edward High School and from Heidelberg College. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. In 2000, he earned a master’s degree in judicial studies from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Framing the debate, making change

As a judge on the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court bench in the 1990s, Timothy J. McGinty became increasingly frustrated by the city of Cleveland’s practice of releasing accused criminals before they had time to verify the suspect’s identity. But his private concerns about "straight release" turned into very public criticism after the June 7, 1999, murder of a downtown office worker by a career criminal who had been released twice that spring after giving police false names.

Besides speaking out against "straight release," Judge McGinty dug deep into the subject. He used data to pinpoint the weaknesses of the system and to shape recommendations for change. His research became the basis for his master’s thesis and, in 2000, for an article in the Cleveland State Law Review that helped shape the public debate. In 2001, the city scrapped its "straight release" policy.

Click here to read Judge McGinty’s article.