SIDNEY — Sidney City Council received an update on the Sidney Municipal Court Monday evening.
Court Clerk/Court Administrator Anthony Kremer presented City Council with the annual report on the happenings within the court, with Municipal Court Judge Gary Carter looking on from the audience.
Kremer’s presentation included Carter’s summary of the 2021 organizational chart, staff accomplishments, as well as traffic, criminal, civil and small claims courts’s assets and liabilities changes.
Several charts were displayed for council members to see the break down of the total amount of cases filed between the courts from 2012 to 2021. Kremer’s report showed the total caseload number has fluctuated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It increased over the last year by roughly 2000 cases, but compared to pre-pandemic, is still well below the average by several hundred case. Misdemeanor cases have decreased by nearly 500 cases since 2019, and felony cases have also come down some over the last two years.
In terms of traffic cases, Kremer said OVI violations have dropped since 2018, and only slightly increased over the last year. Other traffic violations, such as speeding, assured clear distance ahead and driving under suspension violations dropped significantly in 2020 by nearly 1,800 cases, but in 2021 the courts saw that number rise again back up to its near average number of cases per year, his report showed.
Civil Court cases filed have been fairly steady since 2012, with the exception of a drop in 2013 and again in 2020. Small Claims Court cases, Kremer said, are typically minimal with no set pattern. There was a slight increase in cases filed from 2017 to 2019, but then a sharp decrease in 2020 and 2021.
His report also included a chart that broke down the cases by agency in 2021. Forty-nine percent of the cases last year were from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, followed by Sidney Police with 35%, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office with 9%, villages/townships with 6%, state divisions with 1%. His report further broke down the case disposition and juror statistics.
He said the Justice Reinvestment Incentive Grant (JRIG) fund works to reduce recidivism and change probationers’ cognizant behavior. The grant allows the court to implement the Pretrial Release Program to identify offenders who are appropriate for pretrial release from jail on bond.
The Community Corrections Grant (CCA) targets moderate and high-risk offenders by diverting them from jail into community supervision programs. It pays for a full-time chief probation officer.
Both grants pays for much of the probation department’s counseling and treatment, which he said the courts were unable to offer prior to receiving.
Kremer also discussed the probation department’s 2021 statistics. Last year in the department:
• 326 new probation cases were opened;
• 70% of cases were successfully completed;
• 212 probationers were determined to be appropriate for supervision programming including:
– 72 hour driver intervention program
– Mental health counseling
– Anger/rage counseling;
– MAT – medically assisted treatment (Vivitrol) program.
• New programming in 2021, included for domestic violence classes and Thinking for a Change (T4C) classes, as well as the new case management system called the Ohio Community supervision system, which shares information with the probation departments around the state.
• Pre service officer conducted 454 interviews with inmates, of which 76 were determined to be appropriate for pretrial release and
• Pretrial services officer completed 132 pre-sentence investigations;
• 456 in house drug/alcohol screens administered;
• 824 hours of community service worked by 105 individuals.
In the bailiff and court security statistics, Kremer shared that 671 papers, including subpoenas, summons, writs of restitution from evictions, bank garnishments, were served; 105 prisoners transported to or from jail; 676 defendants appeared in court by video; and 67% of the 147 participants in the court’s license intervention program successfully completed the program.
At the conclusion of Kremer’s presentation, Mayor Mardie Milligan thanked him and Carter for their work in the court. At the end of the meeting Carter thanked council, the city, and community for its support of the Sidney Municipal Court.