In the over thirty years that Ohio has had a domestic violence law, local officials have knownthat the law and the system were failing to work as designed in Toledo, knowing that victims werenot being protected, even knowing that something should be done about it. Yet somehow we havesimply failed to take action in a way that would fix it.It has not been for lack of trying. For decades prosecutors, judges, police, city and countyofficials, and advocates have met, talked, counted, reported, proposed, pointed, and wished, but wehave never succeeded in making real change.The evidence presented in this report makes the case plainly that a change must be made. Weall recognize that there are real challenges facing Toledo Municipal Court, but when the majority of domestic violence cases are dismissed in Toledo, it is clear that there is a real problem with our system, not just with the caseload, not just with the funding, not just with the victims.
This failure is not the fault of the judges, or the prosecutors, or political leadership, orbudgeters, or the police, or our probation departments. We have met the enemy and it is us. Wemust
take responsibility for our failure to act, our failure to protect.
The challenging local budget situation has long been used as an excuse, but it would almostcertainly cost us less to handle each case correctly once, rather than continuing the self-defeating cycleof court-clogging dismissal and re-filing that we have long engaged in.While change is certainly a good strategy for the courts, it is essential for the health, safety,dignity, and the lives of victims of domestic violence. Now a new generation of leaders has organized to bring focus and attention to an issue thatdoesn't improve through ignoring it. Independent Advocates has raised the funds and taken the time to provide a detailed analysis of just what has been happening in our courts.The information presented in this study won't come as a surprise to anyone that has spent anytime in Toledo Municipal Court, but the clearly organized evidence of systemic failure should help bring all involved to the table to work for real change rather than just more conversation.
Oregon City Administrator Former Toledo/Lucas County Administrator
DV Court Watch Report 2010 3