The Judgement- The Community- The Criminal- The Cost

January 19, 2013 at 1:36 am 4 comments

In recent posts I have questioned the reasoning as to what we in the community , who have been asked to step up to stop the decline of the quality of life in this place we call home Lorain Ohio, can actually accomplish.

chase

Mayor Ritenauer stated in a recent Morning Journal article”

http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2013/01/08/news/doc50ebaad1d44b9364404110.txt?viewmode=2

Mayor Ritenauer wants the community to band together
Mayor Chase Ritenauer says community must stand against ‘unacceptable’ mayhem

Meanwhile, law-abiding citizens also must be aware of the justice system and demand prosecution to the fullest extent of the law, the mayor said.

tskoch
and then the Editor of the same Morning Journal, Tom Skoch stated in his editorial:
http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2013/01/13/opinion/doc50f23137cc3ff540511491.txt

“As the mayor emphasized, arresting thugs isn’t enough if they are quickly recycled through the justice system and dumped back on the street to cause more crime. Citizens need to urge prosecution and incarceration of criminals to the fullest extent of the law

toothless judgeres
Armed with a will, the time, tenacity and the ability to go in search of answers- thatwoman( me) who was also incensed at recent new news stories concerning alleged rape, drug deals gone bad , abandoned housing set off in search of “JUSTICE”!. I started looking at names and records of some of Lorain’s less than desirable criminal element and why they were on the streets, and who were the judges who had given them leave to continue “mayhem” in my community.

As with most things I research one thing led to another and I noticed a lot of
mention of PSI reports when searching the criminal records.

DEFENDANT IN COURT WITH COUNSEL; WITHDRAWS FORMER PLEA OF NOT GUILTY AND REQUEST FOR JURY TRIAL AND ENTERS A PLEA OF GUILTY TO: THE INDICTMENT WHICH PLEA IS ACCEPTED.
THE COURT HEREBY FINDS THE DEFENDANT GUILTY AND REFERS DEFENDANT TO THE LORAIN COUNTY PSI DEPARTMENT FOR A PRE-SENTENCE EVALUATION AND REPORT; BOND CONTINUED. TO BE INTERVIEWED AT LCCF WHEN DEFENDANT WILL REMAIN UNTIL NOV. 15TH IF NOT INTERVIEWED BY NOV. 15TH DEFENDANT ORDERED TO REPORT TO PSI DEPARTMENT WITHIN 24 HOURS OF RELEASE

What is PSI and just what do they do? so off I went on another search and found the following article -once again in the Morning Journal archives-:
Judge wants to hire PSI officers (with document) by Rick Payerchin

http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2011/04/28/news/mj4457630.txt

I sent the link to the Lorain County Commissioners and asked for some information on PSI and the above link
thatwoman

I am following through with the research on a criminal situation in Lorain and how the criminal process works. I came across the link aforementioned – can you please tell me the outcome of that situation as written in the Morning Journal? I am very concerned as to the “passing through” from our court system by judges, adult parole authority etc and the funding of such who send back into my community the criminal element and the number of re offences …. and therefore, as I am following one case in particular that is making headlines this weekend and how he has been passed through and who determines the level of punishment – I have noticed PSI seems to be heavily involved in the sentencing outcome, therefore I wish to learn more about them and their decisions and who is funding them.

Thanks to Commissioner Kalo who forwarded my email to Mr. Tim Lubbe I have some answers ( emphasis mine) from Tim Lubbe,Lorain County Court of Common Pleas, Court Administrator, General Division

Lubberes

After reviewing my responses, should you still have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Some of the answers are simple, such as the outcome of the situation discussed in the Morning Journal article. Currently, there are eight Presentence Investigation (PSI) personnel that are managed by the Court. These individuals are paid for or funded out of a state grant. However, I’m not sure if that completely answers your question. For example, the headline of the article claims that the “Judges want to hire PSI officers”. Quite frankly, the Court never had any desire to be involved with PSIs. Nevertheless, the State of Ohio in balancing its budget shifted the responsibility for PSI reports to the local or county level via the Courts.

You indicate a concern about the criminal element being “passed through” the court system by Judges, the Adult Parole Authority, etc. and returned into your community. I would not offer an opinion on the Adult Parole Authority, as that is a department of the State of Ohio, and I can’t honestly speak for them. However, with respect to the Judges, I believe they share your concern about criminals “passing through” the system.

I think your next question is also related to this issue. You are interested in who determines the level of punishment. Unfortunately, there is a fairly pervasive misperception that Judges unilaterally control the outcome of criminal cases. On many occasions I have heard Judges express their frustration over the constraints imposed upon them, and in my view, these constraints do affect the revolving nature of our criminal justice system.

While Judges absolutely play an important role in sentencing a criminal defendant, over the years that role has been minimized by changes imposed upon the Court by the Ohio legislature.
ohio-seal

Just last year, there was another significant erosion of the Judge’s autonomy following the passage of H.B. 86. The law in Ohio now specifies that if a criminal defendant is found guilty of a 4th or 5th degree felony, there is a presumption that the defendant will be sentenced to community control, i.e. not jail or prison. Therefore, irrespective of what sentence a Judge may prefer to issue, he or she must follow the law.

Your final question raises a concern, that the PSI department seems to be heavily involved in sentencing outcome. The PSI department actually has no control over sentencing. The PSI department’s role is governed by statute.

Essentially, they are required to investigate the defendant, and report certain information back to the Court. Although the PSI department does not control sentencing, they do have an impact on the criminal defendants in your community. gavel

Under Ohio law, before a defendant can be sentenced to a community control sanction, a PSI report must be produced for the Court. At the time the State of Ohio was responsible for producing PSI reports they had allocated approximately 3 times the amount of money they are currently providing to Lorain County through grants. With their resources, the State would typically produce a PSI report within 30 days. As soon as the Court received the PSI report, the defendant could be sentenced.

At a minimum, that individual would be placed upon probation and subject to review and supervision. Under limited circumstances, if certain factors where met (remember the limitations placed upon the Judges), the defendant may even be sentenced to jail. However, as a result of reduced funding, which equates to personnel, it currently takes the Lorain County PSI department somewhere between 60 and 90 days to deliver a report to the Court. While the Court is waiting for the PSI report, the defendant is in the community, not on supervised probation, and quite often committing additional crimes.

Nevertheless, I can attest that the Court continuously strives, where possible, to improve these circumstances. Also, I would encourage your involvement as a citizen in doing what you can both locally and at the state level.

So there we have it – Is it time to “talk to the State of Ohio” as to how their decisions are compromising our quality of life – is that the very least we can do???? ?

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Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, city of lorain, Criminal Offenders, hell is other people, Legal, notorious opponents of exactitude, Safety. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Read all about it- 2nd chance home – see it and don’t believe it The Cowboys of Lorain- ( Building standards) Part One

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ngaire  |  January 19, 2013 at 2:10 am

    Very interesting article!

  • 2. William C. Ferry  |  January 20, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    We could start by not prosecuting victimless crimes. The war on drugs is as in winnable as the war on alcohol (prohibition), yet we waste billions fighting it. Drug violence is less commonly committed by users, it is the dealers who have big financial incentives who will arm themselves to the teeth and defend their market area (their “turf”). It is drug deals gone wrong that end in violence. It is the high price of drugs (due to their illegality) that causes women (and some men) to sell their bodies to get their fix. Especially with regard to marijuana, users do not commit crimes (they couldn’t if they wanted to, all laughing and seeking minchies!). End the drug war and you free the police and courts to go after real criminals. The prisons will have more space, too, to keep real criminals off our streets.

  • 3. Loraine Ritchey  |  January 20, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Thanks for commenting – I agree there is some merit to your thoughts but on the surface of it wouldn’t you then have to legalize ALL types of drugs- just as all types of alcohol is now legal

    In the mj today is an article about a young person who progressed from marijuana to heroin-

    http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2013/01/20/news/doc50fb73bf71fd2133901214.txt

    presumably even if marijuana was available to this person legally the cravings would escalate ( as apparently they did) and therefore he went after prescription drugs and then onto heroin . If the marijuana market was legal then as the addicts craved more and more they would have to turn to those dealers supplying those drugs wouldn’t they – so how do stop that traffic?

    I don’t believe there is a blanket remedy for this situation- and you are right about the dealers “it is the dealers who have big financial incentives who will arm themselves to the teeth and defend their market area (their “turf”). and we especially in these older neighborhoods are caught up in the crossfire. So how do we get them out of our neighborhoods…. I was told a few years ago by a 10 year old boy whom I interviewed for an article – he was a runner for the dealers- he knew nothing would happen to him in the system and he was actually pulling down more a month than my husband was bringing home….. where was his incentive to go to school? I often wonder what happened to him he would be in his 30 s now I wonder if he survived……..

    Anyone else have any thoughts on a way out of this mess Lorain is in?

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