Berea municipal court

Berea municipal court DEFAULT

Municipal Court

The BereaMunicipal Court has jurisdiction over violations of municipal ordinances, with some exceptions. This court is located in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The Berea Municipal Court covers Berea, Middleburg Heights, Brook Park, Strongsville, Olmsted Falls, Olmsted Township, the Metro Parks and the Ohio State Patrol.[1]

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Berea Municipal CourtMark A. ComstockYes100%Yes check.svg

Berea Municipal Court in Berea, Ohio

Popularity:#2 of 44 Courts in Cuyahoga County#26 of 589 Courts in Ohio#208 in Courts

Berea Municipal Court Contact Information

Address, Phone Number, and Fax Number for Berea Municipal Court, a Court, at Berea Commons, Berea OH.

Berea Municipal Court
11 Berea Commons
Berea, Ohio, 44017

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About the Berea Municipal Court

The Berea Municipal Court, located in Berea, Ohio is a government institution where legal disputes are resolved in accordance with the law. In Berea Criminal Courts, the government brings a case against a defendant who is accused of breaking the law. In Berea Civil Courts, the Court settles disputes between citizens that they are unable to resolve on their own.

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BEREA, OH — The Berea Municipal Court will hold a hearing on March 5 to decide whether prosecutors can use Ohio’s stalking and telecommunications-harassment laws to put people in jail for leaving bad reviews about businesses.

The court is currently considering a motion to dismiss the charges in Brook Park v. Criscione, No. 20CRB01262, where Law Director Carol Horvath and Prosecutor Peter Sackett are trying to put Gina Criscione in prison for saying that the East Park Care Center killed her mother.

According to the motion, Ms. Criscione checked her mother, Dorothy Mandanici, into East Park Care Center several years ago. But the quality of care tanked soon after a new owner, Westlake attorney Laura Divincenzo, took over the nursing home and installed Sara Thurmer as administrator, the motion says: Ms. Mandanici was frequently dehydrated, severely bruised, injured by nursing aides, and regularly cut off from communication with her children.

Ms. Criscione scrambled to find her mother a new home. But while she was fighting against pandemic-related delays, her mother lost more than 30 pounds in her last weeks under Laura Divincenzo’s care, the motion says. By the time Ms. Criscione moved her mother to competent care at Mt. Alverna Village, the motion says, it was too late; Ms. Mandanici died soon after, still suffering from injuries East Park had claimed to have already treated and healed.

The motion says Ms. Criscione began picketing outside East Park and posting online to warn other families not to let their loved ones fall victim to Laura Divincenzo’s neglect. The motion says Ms. Criscione left a one-star review for the facility on Facebook, and police records show that soon after, Laura Divincenzo reached out to the police to ask them to file charges, claiming that Ms. Criscione was engaged in criminal harassment by blowing the whistle on her.

At her request, the Brook Park Police Department helped Ms. Thurmer file criminal complaints charging Ms. Criscione with telecommunications harassment and menacing by stalking. Among other things, the police report complains that Ms. Criscione “refers to the facility as the ‘East Puke Care Center’ and labels it ‘the scum of the earth.’” Both Law Director Horvath and Prosecutor Peter Sackett have decided to keep moving forward with the charges, despite the obvious First Amendment implications.

Although Ms. Divincenzo, Mr. Sackett, and Ms. Horvath are all licensed attorneys, they have shown no awareness that the First Amendment permits Americans to share their opinions about businesses, even—and especially—when those businesses pose a threat to public health.

Represented by Subodh Chandra and Brian D. Bardwell of The Chandra Law Firm LLC, Ms. Criscione is now asking the Court to dismiss the entire case against her, arguing that the statutes Law Director Horvath and Prosecutor Peter Sackett are using are unconstitutionally broad and vague, that all of the conduct they are trying to punish is protected by the First Amendment, and that they are selectively prosecuting her for conduct they tolerate in other settings.

“Some First Amendment questions are harder than others, but everyone knows that you can’t throw people in jail just because they say your business is awful,” Bardwell said. “Unfortunately, the prosecutors in Brook Park are so obsessed with making local businesses look reputable that they’re willing to throw anyone in jail who doesn’t play along. If they get away with it, everyone should probably think twice before leaving anything other than a five-star review for any business in Brook Park.”

The case has already attracted the attention of legal scholars; a group of First Amendment professors has also filed a brief explaining the many defects in the prosecution’s bizarre theory that the government should be policing the content of online business reviews.

Judge Mark Comstock has referred the motion to Magistrate Christopher Green, who will hold an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Law Director Carol Horvath and Prosecutor Peter Sackett are violating Ms. Criscione’s First Amendment rights. The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on March 5 at the Berea Municipal Court, 11 Berea Commons, Berea, OH 44017.

Related Practice Areas
First AmendmentGovernment ethics, misconduct, fraud, & abusePolice misconduct & brutalityMalicious prosecution, abuse of process, and false arrest

Berea Municipal Court

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11 Berea Commons
Berea, OH44017

Phone: 440-826-5860

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Berea Municipal Court has jurisdiction in the Cities of Berea, Brook Park, Middleburg Heights, Olmsted Falls, and Strongsville; and Olmstead Township.

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Online Court Resources

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Municipal court berea

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Located in the City of Berea, the Berea Municipal Court was established January 1, 1958. The Court handles cases from the municipalities of Berea, Brook Park, Middleburg Heights, Olmsted Falls, Olmsted Township, Strongsville, and The Metro Parks. The Ohio State Patrol is also represented on the Ohio Turnpike and Interstates 71 and 480.

Courts Responsibilities & Judges'

The Court judge is Judge Mark A. Comstock who effectuates the prompt and impartial administration of justice for criminal and civil cases arising within the Court’s jurisdiction. Clerk of Court Raymond J. Wohl is responsible for the business portion of the Court including the filing of all Traffic, Criminal, Civil and Small Claims cases. All hearings and trials are scheduled by his office.

For more information visit the Berea Municipal Court's website.

Olmsted Falls mayor in Berea Municipal Court

BEREA, Ohio -- Facing a projected $380,000 budget deficit, Berea Municipal Court officials and Berea Court Committee members met March 24 to discuss ways for court operations to offset the shortfall.

Mayor Cyril Kleem previously had sent a memo containing four possible ways to close the budget gap, which Clerk of Court Raymond Wohl said he had not seen. Two suggestions were to transfer funds from the court construction fund and the special projects fund to the court’s general operations account.

Berea Finance Director Andrea Morris indicated that the court in prior years has executed the second transfer to cover its deficit. Judge Mark Comstock said he and Wohl will discuss that option.

Another recommendation was delaying 2021 pay raises Comstock proposes for court employees until determining if money exists later in the year to cover the $38,000 expense. Both Wohl and Comstock expressed opposition to that suggestion, with Comstock saying “modest” pay raises “keep a hard-working staff of professional people basically treading water.”

“They’re not gaining anything by this,” Comstock said. “I don’t want there to be any doubt I’ll be pushing back on that.”

A 5.3 percent pay cut that court employees, and most city employees, experienced early in the pandemic was restored by the end of 2020, Morris said.

The mayor’s final suggestion was to pursue grants and additional funding. To date, no CARES Act stimulus money has been designated specifically for municipal courts.

Comstock said Parma Municipal Court operates at a large deficit “almost all the time … and the city just has to cover that.” Due to the pandemic, Rocky River Municipal Court experienced a deficit in 2020, he said. It was the first time a shortfall had occurred there in 23 years.

The most promising development was termination of two collection agencies the Berea court used when pursuing unpaid fines. Officials now work with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

“Since December, we’ve collected almost $50,000 in back fines and costs going back to 2013,” Wohl said. “They are able to attach (monies owed) to tax returns, and they actively work with past-due accounts to collect the money.”

Approximately 1,500 cases have been sent to the attorney general’s office, representing $1.1 million in potential collections.

“It sounds like you have taken a really positive step,” Court Committee Chairman Jim Maxwell said. “Even if you get a portion of that $1.1 million, that would be fantastic.”

Ongoing budget update meetings will be scheduled quarterly.

“I assure you we are constantly working at running this operation efficiently, balancing the income and expenses,” Comstock said.

Read more stories from the News Sun.


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