Mayor's courts caseloads in Ohio fall to new low
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 06 September 2013 06:47

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — The number of traffic and misdemeanor cases heard in mayor's courts around Ohio has dropped to its lowest point since the state began tracking caseloads in 2004.

Cases handled in mayor's courts fell last year to nearly 288,000, a drop of 3 percent from the year before, The Akron Beacon Journal (http://bit.ly/14ue6to) reported Thursday.

Officials with the Ohio Supreme Court wouldn't speculate why there has been a decline statewide.

Lockland, near Cincinnati, had the biggest drop of 1,501 cases. It still was one of the busier mayor's courts with 6,669 cases.

Most of the mayor's courts in Ohio are in small communities. They oversee cases involving local ordinances and state traffic laws.

A new state law that went into effect this year requires a population of at least 201 to operate a mayor's court. The change forced nine courts to close.

Mayor's courts have been a target for criticism over the years. Some believe they encourage police to operate speed-traps and exist to raise money. Others say they are less expensive and more convenient than a municipal court.

The busiest courts are in the Cincinnati suburb of Reading and in Willoughby Hills outside of Cleveland. They dealt with about 8,100 cases last year.

Cuyahoga Falls, near Cleveland, is the largest city in the state with a mayor's court. Its caseload dropped by 7 percent to 7,080.

Police Chief Thomas Pozza said officers in Cuyahoga Falls are much more visible. The drop in cases indicates more people are paying attention to traffic laws, he said.

Some courts saw their caseloads go up quite a bit.

North Canton's caseload rose 44 percent. City Administrator Mike Grimes said the community upgraded the court's software, allowing it to track cases more effectively and crack down on tax violators.

___

Information from: Akron Beacon Journal, http://www.ohio.com


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