OH chief justice forms grand jury task force

Posted at 1:47 PM, Jan 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-27 13:47:16-05

The Ohio Supreme Court chief justice announced Wednesday the formation of a task force created for the purpose of examining improvements that could be made to the state's grand jury system.

“To be clear, this task force is being asked to recommend ways to improve the functioning of grand juries and to see what additional steps can be taken to improve the public’s confidence in our justice system,” Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said. “It is not being asked to determine whether the grand jury system should be eliminated.”

The task force will be chaired by Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Stephen McIntosh.

Locally, Judge Steven Gall of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and Judge Michelle Earley of the Cleveland Municipal Court will serve on the task force, which will hold its first meeting on Feb. 17.

Other task force members include:

• Prosecutor Daniel R. Lutz – Wayne County (vice chair)
• Sen. Kevin Bacon – District 3
• Sen. Edna Brown – District 11
• Judge Joyce A. Campbell – Fairfield Municipal Court
• Rep. Robert R. Cupp – District 4
• Judge William R. Finnegan – Marion County Common Pleas Court
• Professor Mark A. Godsey – University of Cincinnati College of Law
• Judge Michael R. Goulding – Lucas County Common Pleas Court
• Colonel Chief Eliot Isaac – City of Cincinnati Police Department
• President/CEO Janet E. Jackson – United Way of Central Ohio
• Judge Melissa A. Powers – Hamilton County Municipal Court
• Professor Ric Simmons – The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
• Rep. Fred Strahorn – District 39
• Defense Attorney Roger Synenberg – Synenberg, Coletta & Moran, LLC
• Judge Stephen A. Wolaver – Greene County Common Pleas Court

According to Chief Justice O’Connor's office, the creation of the task force was not influenced by the Tamir Rice case.

Last week, the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court announced the creation of a Grand Jury Review Committee which will look at the grand jury process and determine if there are ways to make it more efficient.