Login | February 25, 2021

Akron muni rings in 2021 with new admin./presiding judge

Akron Municipal Judge Ron Cable has taken the reins as administrative/presiding judge of the court. (Photo courtesy of the Akron Municipal Court)

Legal News Reporter

Published: February 12, 2021

Akron Municipal Judge Ron Cable has taken the reins as administrative/presiding judge of the court.
The change took effect on Jan. 1, 2021, with Judge Cable replacing Akron Municipal Judge Nicole Walker who served in the role during 2020.
In an email, Judge Walker wrote, “Judge Cable is an innovative judge who shares my vision to modernize the court and improve our physical facilities in order to better serve the public. I have every confidence that he will continue to lead our court in that direction.”
As administrative/presiding judge, Judge Cable is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the court, including dealing with personnel matters, the docket and the court calendar; the enforcement of the rules of superintendence and the timely reporting and termination of all cases in the court.
“Every year we have an election at the court and I am really excited to have been chosen by my fellow judges,” said Judge Cable, who first took the bench in December in 2017 after serving as a magistrate at Summit County Juvenile Court. “The court has a number of positive initiatives taking place this year and I am looking forward to carrying them out.”
At the top of the list, said Judge Cable, is the implementation of Phase One of the Tyler Technologies Odyssey Case Manager™ system.
“The court has been working under the same case management system since 1987, which is no longer viable in this day and age,” said Judge Cable, who credits Judge Walker with applying for and securing over $245,000 in grant money to update the technology.
“The new system will enable us to create documents and statistical reports, download court sessions, track initial filings through disposition, integrate calendaring and scheduling and automate the case assignment process to ensure all the judges get a fair share of cases that are randomly selected by computer, increasing transparency about who gets what case,” said Judge Cable.
“Right now everything is written down and done by individuals, allowing for human error,” he said. “The automation will also eliminate the chance for duplicate data entries.”
Phase one is underway and primarily entails the transfer of existing data into the new system, said Judge Cable.
“We hope to complete the process by the end of 2021,” said Judge Cable.
Court officials have also created a security advisory committee to review existing protocols to determine what changes need to take place to better ensure the safety of staff members, attorneys and litigants.
“The creation of this committee was an initiative of the judges,” said Judge Cable. “The committee began meeting in November 2020. Under normal circumstances, the court gets tremendous foot traffic each day and it’s important that we have strong security to provide a safe environment for the public and the court staff.”
In addition to his new duties, Judge Cable will continue to preside over the domestic violence docket Family Intervention Court and RISE (Restore Individual Self-Empowerment) Court, which he started in October 2018 to identify and provide assistance to adult female victims of human trafficking, sexual exploitation and prostitution.
Those who are accepted into the 24-month program receive a wide variety of services ranging from trauma therapy, drug rehabilitation and mentoring to housing and vocational sessions, provided by outside agencies that are partnering with the court.
In November 2020, RISE received final certification from the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on Specialized Dockets. The certification runs through Dec. 31, 2022.
“RISE was the first program in Summit County for adults facing issues of human trafficking, sexual exploitation and prostitution,” said Judge Cable. “We are really happy that the Supreme Court decided that it deserved final certification, which elevated it to a specialized docket.
“I think it’s extremely important for what that says about the integrity of the program,” Judge Cable said. “It also means that we will be eligible for additional resources from the Supreme Court, which will allow us to provide additional training to staff members and more resources to participants.”
RISE Court Coordinator Michaela Yerse said final certification further validates that court officials are following best practices.
“This is key because the women who the docket serves have been through so much and they deserve to know they are receiving best practice services that can help them to recover,” said Yerse.
There are currently 15 female participants in RISE Court, who range in age between 19 and 60.
Services are provided by individuals and organizations on the RISE treatment team, including Coleman Professional Services, the Victim Assistance Program, RAHAB Ministries, the Legal Defender Office of Summit County, the Akron City Prosecutor’s Office and others.
“Ms. Yerse stays in contact with the participants daily and the court holds biweekly judicial reviews with the participants,” said Judge Cable. “My staff and I also meet biweekly with representatives from our treatment team to discuss the progress of the participants, potential issues and whether to move participants to the next phase.
“At the present time due to COVID-19, all participant and treatment team meetings are being done remotely.”
“The issue of human trafficking is typically something that takes place underground away from the view of others,” said Yerse. “Unfortunately, a lot of times the only real access to help is through the criminal justice system. That is why it’s so important to have programs like RISE in place to ensure that court officials can recognize the signs and identify victims so they are not punished instead of receiving the help they so desperately need.”