Lorain County Municipal judge responds to claims ‘system failed’ after domestic violence victim is shot

A Lorain County municipal court judge is now responding to statements that the system failed a woman who was shot by her husband.
Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 6:58 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A Lorain County municipal court judge is now responding to statements that the system failed a woman who was shot by her husband.

Scott Brant drove up to the Boo-Tique in Wellington, where his wife works, Tuesday around 4 p.m., and shot her in the hip. He then killed himself.

“I think the system has failed her," said Wellington Police Chief Tim Barfield. "We have a duty to protect her and our citizens and in this particular case that duty was not met.”

Brant had an extensive domestic abuse and criminal history, according to Barfield.

In late October, he was in court for kidnapping.

His record also shows a 2018 aggravated vehicular assault charge.

“Mr. Brant and his wife had been involved in a domestic situation, and we’d taken that to the court at the same time we received that information," said Barfield. "We received information from her about a pretty terrorizing kidnapping that occurred between her husband and her. We took that domestic violence situation to the court and made them aware of the kidnapping issue we were perusing.”

The police chief said he wanted Brant in jail with a high bond while he was prosecuted.

Brant appeared in front of Judge Thomas Januzzi at Oberlin Municipal Court where he pleaded not guilty.

On October 28th, Brant was released. He was given a GPS monitor and was ordered to have no contact with his wife.

“The Village of Wellington police are good, kind, and caring people," wrote Januzzi in an email to 19 News. "I am confident that they, along with the court, did everything they could to prevent this unfortunate circumstance.”

When asked why he chose a protective order over a high bond, the judge wrote:

“I don’t recall specifics of what the prosecutor provided regarding the background of Mr. Brant. I do recall that there was no motion for protection order filed by either the police or the alleged victim. The court, on its own motion, based on the circumstances determined that the safety and protection of the alleged victim may be impaired and therefore issued the protection order and required the GPS monitor. The prosecutor did not recommend a bond and voiced no objection over the Court’s decision to require a personal bond with a GPS monitor.”

“We typically order a person who we believe to be a credible threat to another person to be connected to a GPS monitor. Once connected we rely on the GPS company to maintain contact with the police and the alleged victim and that they notify the person and the police immediately of any violation so that the police can act post-haste on the violation to secure the safety of the alleged victim and if necessary, others. This method is the preferred method rather than setting a bond that can be posted with uncertainty as to the location of the alleged offender. A high bond or cash/surety bond may make people feel better but in my almost 40 years of experience, I find that the GPS monitor is the best chance of protecting the alleged victim rather than a high bond that can be posted. My experience is that though a high bond might provide gratification to some that the person has received an immediate consequence for their actions, setting a bond for that reason is inappropriate in our American system of government as a premature punitive sanction. A cash or surety bond, which is typically posted on misdemeanor crimes, accomplishes nothing more than costing money to the accused and to the accused’s family, angering the accused even more who then takes out his/her anger on the family member who reported the crime. I know you understand this because of your experience as a law enforcement officer and your extensive training in the area of domestic violence. As you know we attempt to diffuse the abuser - not feed their anger and rage to the detriment of the alleged victim.”

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