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Update to Court of Common Pleas or Guilty Pleas Blog

Posted on July 23, 2012 at 2:50 PM

In 2010, I wrote a blog to showcase a very real problem with the court system. The dockets keep flooding the courts in Cuyahoga County and there is simply no possible way for a judge to give a trial to every case that comes cross his/her docket each day. In Cuyahoga County, the judges hear civil and criminal dockets on any given day so that creates a greater chance for a case not to be heard simply for lack of time.


So the option to take a plea comes in. Some criminals would agree it's a nice way to avoid some charges, resolve their cases in a faster manner, some attorneys would agree it's a way to avoid a costly trial if the outcome was assured, and some prosecutors would agree it's an easier victory for the D.A. than taking the chance at trial.


In the meantime, the numbers are still disproportionate and it's a little unsettling to see the trend has not changed. I followed the dockets for three days, given that that's how I had done it previously, using 2009 docket dates. This time I used consecutive dates of July 18, 19, and 20, 2012. I'm not sure why Thursday, the 19th had so many dismissed cases (17 were dismissed, whether with or without prejudice), nor do I know if this is something that happens regularly. I will update this blog if I do find out the answers.


I charted the dockets (again: this is just the criminal docket, not including those judges who might have had a civil trial or two on any of these three dates) and here is the resulting graph:

Categories: Problems in Justice System

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2 Comments

Reply Tonya
9:06 AM on July 24, 2012 
Sue Luttner says...
How thorough of you, Tonya, to repeat the data-gathering. I looked at your 2009 data, and the profile is strikingly consistent.

Brian Banks is my new favorite sports hero, as he's provided a high-profile example of an innocent person's pleading guilty to a lesser charge.


I am already considering when I should do it again. The first time, in 2009 it was a fluke and even knowing ahead of time that a lot of guilty pleas go on, it stunned me that up to 85% would be taking a guilty plea, not even a no contest plea! I'm still looking to find out why so many cases got dismissed Thursday. That was new for me.
Reply Sue Luttner
6:37 PM on July 23, 2012 
How thorough of you, Tonya, to repeat the data-gathering. I looked at your 2009 data, and the profile is strikingly consistent.

Brian Banks is my new favorite sports hero, as he's provided a high-profile example of an innocent person's pleading guilty to a lesser charge.