The following is information from your Tallmadge Law Department about how your Complaints are handled.
FILING A COMPLAINT
The office of the City of Tallmadge Law Director is open for complaints Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. It is located on the second floor of Tallmadge City Hall at 46 North Avenue in Tallmadge. Please call 330-633-0859 for an appointment to ensure that either the law director or assistant law director is available.
SIGNING A CRIMINAL CHARGE
If a staff member of the law director’s office determines there is probable cause to believe a crime was committed, you may be asked to sign a Criminal Complaint. The Prosecutor will make the ultimate decision about whether or not a Criminal Complaint will be signed.
Before signing a Criminal Complaint, you must swear that your statement is true. If you intentionally make a false or malicious statement in your signed Criminal Affidavit, you could be prosecuted or sued.
Victim/witness counselors from the Victim Assistance Program and Battered Women's Shelter are available for consultation during complaint hours. Both agencies also provide assistance on a 24-hour basis. Call 330-376-0040 for the Victim Assistance Program and 330-374-1111 for the Battered Women's Shelter.
ARREST OR SUMMONS
Once charges have been signed, the law department will decide whether to issue an Arrest Warrant or Summons. A Warrant will be issued for all felonies. A Warrant will be issued for misdemeanors only when there is an imminent risk of further violence. When a Warrant is authorized, the appropriate police department will attempt to arrest the defendant as soon as possible.
When a Summons is sent, the defendant will be notified by mail when to appear in court. If the defendant fails to appear, a Warrant will be issued.
The first time a defendant appears in court, a judge will ask the defendant if he understands the charges against him. The judge will automatically enter a "not guilty" plea for the defendant who is charged with a felony, set a bond, and schedule a date for a Preliminary Hearing.
If the charges are misdemeanors, the defendant will be asked to choose whether to plead "guilty," "no contest," or "not guilty." If he pleads "not guilty," his case will be referred to one of the two Stow Municipal Court judges for a pretrial.
The victims and witnesses do not need to attend the initial appearance unless the defendant has been charged with Domestic Violence, Menacing by Stalking, or Violation of a Protection Order.
The law director’s office and Stow Municipal Court do not issue Peace Bonds or Restraining Orders. However, in cases of Domestic Violence, Felonious Assault, Aggravated Assault, Assault, Menacing by Stalking, and Aggravated Trespass, involving a family or household member, the victim may request a Temporary Protection Order. The victim must appear in the Stow Municipal Court at the initial appearance of the defendant to discuss this order with the judge.
If the defendant continues to harass the victim or witnesses, contact the police immediately and the law director’s office as soon as possible.
All misdemeanor cases will be scheduled for a Pretrial Conference. During the Pretrial, the prosecutor and defense attorney will discuss the case in great detail. Plea negotiations will occur at this time and all victims and witnesses should be present.
The Summit County Prosecutor's Office will handle Felony cases after the defendant has been indicted.
Victims of crime will be requested to attend a Pretrial Conference both to apprise the victim of the case status and to facilitate resolution of the case.
The law director’s office will not recommend dismissal of criminal charges merely because the prosecuting witness has changed his or her mind. Once charges are filed, the victim does not have the authority to dismiss the case.
If you have concerns about the ongoing prosecution of a case, please go to court at the next scheduled appearance and discuss your thoughts with the law director or assistant law director handling the case.
PREPARING FOR TRIAL
The law department will contact all victims and witnesses prior to trial. If your trial is approaching and you have not talked with a law department representative or prosecutor, please call. Before trial, you should review all the facts of the case so that you are totally familiar with what occurred the day of the crime.
JURY TRIAL AND BENCH TRIALS
It is the defendant's right to decide whether or not to request a Jury Trial. Misdemeanor Trials have eight jurors and Felony Trials have twelve jurors. In lieu of a Jury Trial, the defendant may elect a Bench Trial in which the judge will decide the defendant's guilt or innocence.
During Jury Trials, victims and witnesses are not allowed to observe the proceedings until they testify.
If you receive a Subpoena to testify at a particular time, please be patient. It is difficult to predict the exact length of court proceedings. Please notify the bailiff that you are present and you will be called as a witness as soon as possible.
The judge will sentence the defendant after he is found guilty of the crime. In many cases, the judge will delay sentencing so that the Court Probation Department may conduct a Pre-sentence Investigation. If this happens, sentencing will be delayed approximately four weeks.
All victims and witnesses are encouraged to attend the sentencing. Please notify the law department if you have a specific recommendation for the defendant's sentence.
Under Ohio law, there is financial help for innocent victims of violent crime. You may phone the Clerk of Courts of Summit County Common Pleas Court at 330-379-2217, the Victim Assistance Program at 330-376-0040, the Clerk of Courts of Stow Municipal Court at 330-564-4110, or the Law Department of Tallmadge at 330-633-0859 for forms.