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The criminal justice system gives comfort and security to millions of Americans, as it guarantees that people will be punished if they violate the property or safety of others. A nation of laws and serious enforcement also runs the risk of punishing the wrong individuals or creating a career criminal from a single offender.

Many social activists focus on criminal defense as an important bulwark against the excesses of law enforcement officers and prosecutors. This is especially true when pursuits unfairly target racial or social minorities. Cleveland and other areas of Ohio have seen these trends and are working to correct them.

Cuyahoga County’s prosecutor and the presiding judge of the Ohio common pleas court plan to lead the reform of Cleveland’s criminal justice system. The proposal would create a drug court specifically for high-risk offenders as well as a special docket for people under the age of 21 facing gun-related charges.

One argument for a special drug court is the disproportionate number of minority youth caught up in drug charges. Special gun charges may include people too young to get a concealed firearm permit but choose to carry guns because they feel at risk in their neighborhoods.

“We need to help those kids through a diversion program so they don’t get caught in cycle of more serious charges,” the prosecutor said. Grants would pay for the docket’s budget and much of the funding has already been secured.

People charged with gun-related and drug-related crimes deserve a strong and spirited defense. An attorney may increase the chances of an acquittal, reduced sentence or other avoidance of punitive measures.

Source: Cleveland.com, “Cuyahoga County prosecutor, top judge unveil new criminal justice reforms at Greater Cleveland Congregations event,” Cory Shaffer, April 24, 2018