Tallmadge to join program that will expedite felony court cases

by Holly Schoenstein | reporter Published:

Tallmadge -- Felony cases in Tallmadge under the jurisdiction of Summit County will be handled more quickly after the first of the year, benefitting all parties involved, say city and county officials.

That's because the city is partnering with the county and its prosecutor's office to create a local Direct Indictment Program.

"The Tallmadge Direct Indictment Program is an initiative by the city of Tallmadge to provide a more efficient and effective felony indictment process ...," said Megan Raber, law director for the city. "This program streamlines the process between arrest and indictment, which eliminates the need to hold a preliminary hearing. Felony cases in Summit County will bypass the preliminary hearing in Stow Municipal Court and move directly to the [Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh's Office], where they will be presented to the grand jury."

Felony cases under the jurisdiction of the portion of the city that's in Portage County won't be affected, Raber said.

"The Akron Municipal Court and Barberton Municipal Court have used the program for about a decade. I am very pleased that Summit County and the city of Tallmadge were able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement," she said.

The city of Stow, Boston Township, Northfield Center Township, Sagamore Hills Township and Twinsburg Township joined the program in September.

"We have found that the Direct Indictment Program reduces the time between the date of arrest and arraignment in the Court of Common Pleas by approximately three weeks," Walsh said in a press release at the time. "This decreases the time defendants spend in the Summit County Jail, thus reducing costs for the Sheriff's Office and the financial burden on taxpayers. "

Raber said it also frees up limited space in the jail, and by bypassing the preliminary hearing, victims and witnesses of crimes will have one less exposure to the court system.

The program is expected to save the city at least $5,000 each year, plus expenses related to the police department's transportation of felony prisoners, Raber said.

Contact this reporter at 330-541-9428 or hschoenstein@recordpub.com

Facebook: Holly Schoenstein, Record Publishing Co.

Twitter: @SchoensteinH

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