Suburban judges may help if needed for protestor arraignments

Suburban judges may help if needed for protestor arraignments
(Source: WOIO)

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - In the wake of the Michael Brelo verdict, a Saturday afternoon disturbance was about as contentious as things got.

Yes, there were arrests, and things were easily handled in Cleveland Municipal Court.

Weeks later a long march in from Cudell Recreation where Tamir Rice was shot tied up the Shoreway at rush hour as protestors moved toward downtown.  Police didn't confront and all went well.

But what if?

At the Democratic Convention in Denver in 2008 there were widespread protests. In St. Paul the same year violence erupted and there were dozens of arrests.

In the end some protestors were compensated for wrongful arrest. In New York City in 2004 there were 2200 arrests.  The city paid out a record $18 million for those arrests.

There is simply no way Cleveland Municipal Court, let alone the jails, could handle such an onslaught of prisoners.

With that in mind we have learned of a plan, still on the drawing board to allow suburban judges to hear Cleveland cases. But it is not as easy as it sounds.

As an experiment several years ago Judge Timothy Gilligan in Parma swapped dockets for a week with a Cleveland Municipal Court Judge, but it took Supreme Court approval.

On that point we got this response today from the Supreme Court:

The Chief Justice has been and continues to be in discussions with local court officials.  And is prepared to offer as much backing to local courts as is appropriate and necessary to support their operations during the Convention. 

The discussions were described as on-going.

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