Presiding: Honorable Susan Baker Ross
A specialized docket serving the needs of those who have served our country.
The Summit County Valor Court, presided over by Judge Susan Baker Ross, began on November 12, 2013, immediately following Veterans Day. Summit County Valor Court was established due to the recognition that many of our veterans return to civilian life with serious trauma, both physical and mental, which may lead to their involvement with the criminal justice system. By providing this court, veterans are given access to programs, treatment and interaction with mentors in a collaborative initiative to enhance chances of success.
According to Fred Stratmann, chief legal counsel for the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, statistics have shown the importance of the work of such specialized courts. There are 22 million U.S. Veterans nationwide: 900,000 in Ohio—among the top five states in number—and about 40,000 in Summit County alone.
The key components of the Summit County Valor Court are to provide the veteran with a comprehensive case plan to include a support team that will assist them in successfully completing their goals. These components will give the veteran opportunities to connect to available services at the Veteran’s Administration and other community resources, rebuild family and community ties, live a drug-free lifestyle, engage in services rather than incarceration, stabilize living conditions, connect with veteran peers living in the community, develop job skills, and return to school or work.
General Guidelines for the Summit County Valor Court:
- Judge Susan Baker Ross reserves the right to accept or reject any referred defendant at any time for any reason.
- Felony three, four and five level offenses with prosecutorial and victim input.
- Must be appropriate and amenable to treatment, case management and ancillary services. Prior to entry into the Summit County Valor Court, the veteran will sign a Waiver of Rights form explained and witnessed by defense counsel.
- Cognitive ability to understand and participate in all levels of the program. All veterans will sign a memo of understanding in regard to completing required assessments and services.
- The veteran’s criminal history will be reviewed as part of the acceptance process.
For more information regarding the Valor Court Program of Summit County, contact: Rachia Garrett, Project Director, at 330.643.2311 / RGarrett@cpcourt.summitoh.net