Stark County Family Court
Judge Michael L. Howard
Judge Rosemarie A. Hall
Intake Supervisor ----------------Ed Lenzy
Intake Officer --------------------------- Cary Brown
Juvenile Assignment Commissioner---------- Betty Watkins Juvenile Assignment Assistant ------------ Rachel Currie
Domestic Relations Assignment ------------ Vanessa McAfee
Pretrial Coordinator* --------------------- Britney Demyan Pretrial Officer* ------------------------- Ed Lewis
*Positions paid for through a grant from the Ohio Department of Youth Services
The Intake Department is the receiving and processing department for many case types filed with the Juvenile Division of the Court. The Intake Department is comprised of the delinquency and unruly unit, the Pretrial Serrvices unit, and the juvenile and domestic relations assignment office. The first contact many have with the Court will come from the Intake Department as they initiate cases received by the Court. The Intake Supervisor oversees the staff of 12 that has involvement in over 4,500 of the cases filed annually with the Juvenile Division of the Family Court.
The delinquency and unruly unit is comprised of four Intake Officers, an Intake Community Worker, Records Room Clerk and two secretaries. They work with the Juvenile Division of the County Prosecutor's Office and the Clerk of Courts in setting up and notifying the parties to each case and have responsibility for reviewing case files, setting up hearings, gathering background information, conducting hearings at detention and making recommendations to the Court about sentencing. The Records Coordinator starts all new delinquency and unruly cases and starts the expungement and sealing process, conducts background checks for the U.S. military, for public housing and also for the new concealed carry background checks. Most of the data and records of the Court are compiled and stored in the Intake Department. There are about 3,000 delinquency cases filed per year. The most common offense is that of theft and felony cases make up about ten percent of the total delinquency case filed each year.
Delinquency cases, complaints alleging criminal conduct of a juvenile, are filed with the Clerk of Courts and set for hearings by the Intake Department. Police officers, school officials, citizens, families or other agencies may file complaints upon approval of the Juvenile Prosecutor's office. Once a Juvenile Intake Officer receives a complaint, he/she reviews the complaint and decides how each case should be handled in cooperation with the Juvenile Prosecutor's office. The Intake Officer may divert the case (handle it informally) or file the complaint (send it official). As long as the complaint is not a serious or violent offense, and the juvenile has not been before the Court previously, the complaint may be handled informally. However, if the juvenile has previously had a complaint handled informally or has previously been found delinquent, the case may be set for official court action. When an Intake Officer diverts a case, he/she schedules an Intake conference with the juvenile and the juvenile's parents/legal guardians. For an Intake conference to be conducted, the juvenile must admit to having committed the offense. As a consequence of the charge/complaint, the Intake Officer may order the juvenile to participate in one or more programs. Intake Officers makes referrals to Teen Court, the Options Drug and Alcohol diversion program, trained mediators and many other community assistance and counseling programs. The list of community programs available is very extensive and Intake Officers make referrals based on the needs of the juvenile and family. If there is no admission or if the Intake Officer's assessment of the juvenile indicates significant risk, the case is referred to the Court for an arraignment hearing.
Unruly complaints are often filed by parents against their own children for ungovernable behavior. Parents and children in serious conflict can come to the Intake Department to file complaints and discuss options to reduce or eliminate the conflict. The Stark County Family Council works closely with the Court in the coordination and assistance with families in these situations. The strategy is to intervene early and prevent youth from getting more deeply involved in the juvenile justice system. Other types of unruly cases include school truancy, running away from home and curfew violations. Many of these cases are sent to mediation and diverted to community agencies for assistance and counseling. Local school officials file complaints of habitual or chronic school truancy with the Court. When a youth is truant from school in violation of the truancy laws, that youth can be referred to the Intake Department. The juvenile and parent are cited to Court for a conference regarding youth's attendance. Failure to improve attendance can result in formal court interventions. The mandatory school attendance laws of the State of Ohio include the parents' responsibility to have their child in school. If a parent fails to have their child in school, the parent can be held accountable, face criminal charges, and possible fines and a jail sentence. The Court also offers a Truancy Mediation program that is offered to many of the county schools. This program sends trained mediators to elementary, middle and high schools to work with teachers, parents and students to alleviated truancy issues before they become serious. See the section on Truancy Mediation for more information on this program. The Court receives over 500 unruly cases per year.
The Assignment Office is responsible for maintaining the schedule of hearings for the entire Juvenile and Domestic Relations Divisions of the Court. This involves scheduling cases for three Judges and seven Magistrates. Judges, Magistrates, Intake Officers, attorneys, and many others work with the Assignment Office to set dates for over 12,000 cases per year.
Pretrial Services is a program of monitoring and supervision of juveniles released from detention and has been operated since 1999. The three staff of this program work under the direction of the Intake Supervisor. They provide intensive monitoring of juveniles released from detention prior to adjudication and sentencing. The also provide supervision of juveniles placed under house arrest and or on electronic monitoring house arrest. Monitoring and supervision include contact with the juvenile at home, in school, and at their place of employment. Funding for this program began through the Juvenile Accountability and Incentive Block Grant program through the Bureau of Grants Administration within the Department of Youth Services in