The Cleveland.com editorial board published a roundtable in unanimous support of a pilot criminal sentencing database in Cuyahoga County, an idea the CMBA has long endorsed and encouraged. Joining a groundswell of public and legal support, the Cleveland.com editors called for local courts to lead the way, calling such transparency “a crucial step toward sentencing equity.”
Two of the CMBA’s four Racial Equity and the Law (REAL) Workgroups have made strides since their formation earlier in the year to advance the idea. The Dismantling Systemic & Negotiated Racism REAL Workgroup, led by Kira Kittoe-Krivosh and Ludgy LaRochelle, invited Ohio Supreme Court Justice Michael Donnelly to speak with members during a recent meeting in May. Justice Donnelly, along with Judges Gene A. Zmuda of the 6th Ohio District Court of Appeals and Pierre H. Bergeron of the 1st Ohio Court of Appeals, has been charged by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor to head a task force to create a statewide, centralized criminal sentencing database as the top priority for her remaining time on the bench. Justice Donnelly spoke with passion and conviction that the time is ripe for the project, and that the database would be instrumental in addressing systemic racial disparities.
Under the leadership of Chris Keim and Russell Tye, the Continuing Criminal Justice Reform REAL Workgroup is working on complementary efforts with a subgroup headed by Judges John Russo and Emily Hagan of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, identifying key local and statewide stakeholders who could play a role in the database’s development.
Your local Bar is primed and eager to drive this project, with the full support of incoming CMBA President Rose Fini, who has made advancing REAL efforts a benchmark of her term in the 2021-2022 Bar Year and is an active member of several of the Workgroups herself.
As CMBA CEO Becky Ruppert McMahon said, “Getting a pilot project off the ground would be a great opportunity for Cuyahoga County to move this ball forward, once and for all. The CMBA stands ready to work with the courts to make this happen.”
If you would like to be a part of the movement advancing a statewide database and/or local pilot program, let us know! Contact Jessica Paine at email@example.com for more on how you can get involved. For an overview of the Bar’s ongoing racial equity efforts, click below.
Racial Equity And the Law