CLEVELAND — A proposed state law would give Cleveland Housing Court increased authority to hear felonies involving illegal dumping and other environmental crimes.
Ohio Senators Matt Dolan (District -24) and Kenny Yuko (District -25) sponsored the legislation that would grant the Cleveland Housing Court jurisdiction in any review or appeal of cases related to cases involving illegal dumping and other environmental related crimes.
Currently, felony cases related to illegal dumping are heard in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court.
The proposed law follows an exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation in February that spent months documenting illegal dump sites across Cleveland.
We found 960 illegal dump sites across the city over the last five years while hundreds were cleaned up and removed following investigation by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Enviromental Crimes Task Force.
News 5's report found Cleveland lacks a key weapon to fight illegal dump sites that has been utilized for years in Columbus--a single, dedicated environmental court where cases are heard in one court, before one judge.
Cleveland Housing Court Judge Ron O'Learly has worked for years to gain similar authority locally but required a change in Ohio Revised Code that would expand housing court authority.