Only in Erie County

Oct 9, 2013


Would you guess Erie County Common Pleas Courts Juvenile Division has an abnormally high annual case load, compared to juvenile courts in other Ohio counties?

Mahoning County — population 238,823, with the county seat of Youngstown — had 4,438 juvenile cases in 2012, or about 19 such cases per 1,000 residents. 

Compare this to Erie County (population 77,079), which had 4,257 juvenile cases that same year — or 55 juvenile cases per 1,000 residents. 

Mahoning County, three times the size of Erie County, only had 193 more juvenile cases closed than Erie County in 2012. 

Some would say, “So our juvenile court has almost three times more cases, per 1,000 residents, than the juvenile court in Mahoning County. Sandusky kids are bad. It's all poor parenting."  

To that, I say look at the statistics from other counties.  

Hamilton County (population 802,374) had 35 juvenile cases per 1,000 residents last year; Lucas County (population 441,815) had 27 cases per 1,000 residents; Cuyahoga County (population 1.28 million) had just 20 juvenile cases per 1,000 residents. 

The list goes on: Montgomery County (population 535,153) had 28 juvenile cases per 1,000 residents; Summit County (population 541,781) had 14 per 1,000 residents. 

I can keep going, but this all holds true when you compare Erie County to Ohio counties of equal or lesser population.

Don’t take my word for it. Please go to, then scroll down to “2012 Ohio Courts Statistical Reports. Then, scroll down 126 pages to “Courts of Common Pleas – Juvenile Division Overall Caseloads 2012," and research it for yourself.

So Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Cleveland, Dayton, Akron, Youngstown and other cities don’t have the parenting issues or juvenile crime problems to the extent Sandusky does? 

Does Erie County lead Ohio in social collapse? Do we have the most criminal children in Ohio? 

Or, could it be we are unnecessarily arresting and convicting youths? 

I'll tell you what. Go to Hancock Street here in Sandusky and walk up to some teens, engage them in conversation, deliver a positive message, and then come back and tell me how some of them made fun of you, but you were not harmed. 

Now, take that same positive message to the corner of E. 55th St., Kinsman Road and Woodland Avenue in search of teens. When you return, tell me why Erie County had more than twice the juvenile cases per 1,000 residents in 2012 than Cuyahoga County.

Something is going on in Erie County’s Juvenile Court. 

We do have reason not to trust our children to the judicial system. We need to scrutinize our juvenile court system until we are assured our children receive honest and just treatment. We need to address this moral crisis, in ways other than the ways that have already proven unsuccessful. 

We also need to stop focusing all of our scrutiny on the cops and courts, and focus half of that on ourselves. 

Some of us don’t see our kids. Some of us don’t have a penny or a minute for them. Some of us love our kids and treat them as so, but do nothing for the kids in the neighborhood who aren’t so lucky. Some of us are here for our non-biological children, but can never replace that child’s absent father. 

What can we do?

Nonsupport of dependents only applies to financial support. The state can’t make someone raise their children.

We need to accept the fact that a considerable number of children in our community are being raised without a father in the home. In some homes, a father is entirely absent.  

Some kids will be just fine without their father, having uncles, coaches, grandfathers, or a strong mother to fill the void. 

But some won’t. 

We can choose: Either develop a community love that we raise at-risk children as a community — together — or develop programming to help raise the children, who without help, could be lost, forgotten by us as well.


There you go again

Judge Delamatre-Tell us this ain't so!


The failure are the parents of these children in the court system, not the system.


Maybe it means that the local justice system is doing a better job.


Gee, another story making excuses for delinquents. Good for Erie County. I hope they arrest and convict every single one of them that commits a crime. That's how it should be.

Colonel Angus

The problem is that the youth of Erie County are rarely sentenced to commitments in DYS facilities (kiddy prison) due to the cost per day to house them there. The kids know this and they also know that unless it's a major felony they will be back on the streets soon. Until there is real punishment for their crimes these trends will continue. A real solution costs money. We have a hard enough time convincing voters to fund education and recreation for our law abiding children, I seriously doubt a voting majority would approve additional taxes to support our delinquents. Mr. Newell is a great example of what purpose real punishment can serve. He has served time in prison and is now a positive contributor to society.

getit right be4...

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


Reading these comments just shock me. Are the kids in EC that disposable to many of you? Would you just as soon see them carted off to jail than see them helped? Wow. Ok, they go wrong but why not catch the potential of them not "going wrong" BEFORE they get to that when they are in grade school.

What ever happened to the after hour school programs and "arts in the park" programs this town used to offer to the young kids in this community? Does this city not even consider it worth it any more? I guess not since you don't see it.

We have lovely parks that kids can't play in except the splash pad places or the ballparks and yet where are the "ORGANIZED" things they used to offer to the smaller kids during the summer? What about organized things in the fall? All of it went to the wayside and now no one cares???

Ok, so little jimmy is out robbing you because he fell in with the wrong crowd...he's bored and needs money for drugs and found he's OWN organized thing to do. good luck with that one. We blame the court, the parents and the kid....but heaven forbid we blame each other for our lack of caring about the other guy just a little bit. How sad.

I love kids and I hate to see them tossed away by society and written off just because it is so much easier than trying to make things better.


They still have programs in the summer AND they provide lunch


where do I sign up to volunteer. And Kelly, if they DO commit a crime, they do the time. I will agree with you. But before they get to that point, lets save the one's we can. They don't all have to go down that road, now do they?


They have the programs at the parks during the summer. The kids get notices about it at the end of the school year.


Sorry grama, you are not going to undo nine years of damage to a kid in a 45 minute art and crafts session.

By the time he gets to that age, he is beyond his years, from everything that has been done to him and everything he has been privy to.

He is not gonna come to you and be all warm and fuzzy, ready to read Bible verses.

I know this from my three years experience from Clothe A Child. I won't get into it here, but it was a disgusting eye opening experience.


sandtown born a...

A very accurate statement! It all starts at home at a young age, most of these youths are watching parents/guardians break the law and receive something for nothing so why should they not be entitled to the same.

sandtown born a...

It would be interesting to see how many of these juveniles are being cared for ( using cared for very loosely) by convicted criminals I'm sure the numbers would be extremely high.


Shame the online edition doesn't post the "Letters to the editor". There were a couple of good ones.

Yet, another article making excuses for criminal behavior of kids. Is this becoming a trend for this publication?


What do you guys expect when people have kids at 13? They dont have any sense themselves, of course their children end up just like them!!


Part of the conversation Mr. Newell failed to included would be that the legal systems in urban areas have much more on their hands, thus prosecution of juveniles falls below prosecution of murderers, rapists, robbers, prostitutes, etc. I moved from Sandusky to one of the mentioned urban areas to take a teaching job, and let me tell you, Erie County's juveniles are not as bad as those I have encountered. It also blew my mind that things such as robberies, murders, kidnappings, break-ins, etc are weekly, if not daily occurrences here. Things that would make the front page of the Register for days does not even get mentioned in the newspapers here - you only hear of it by listening to the police scanner or reading the daily log. When the crime of a city is low to the point where juvenile crime sticks out like a sore thumb, of course more of those younger criminals will be prosecuted. When you have multiple robberies and shootings per night, the courts tend to focus on nabbing the adults with guns and drugs before going after wannabe thugs who still have a curfew.

Erie County Resident

Stop putting the blame on the juvie system and place it square in the laps of where it belongs.
The community isn't responsible for raising their kids, the parents are.
If these "children" get to where the law and justice system knows them, yes lock them up.
I say this before they harm anyone or are harmed themselves from somebody willing to defend themself!!!


I just picked up my October issue of CUFFED!

Guess who's mugshot is in it?


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


Very well said!

Stop It



What are the rates of prosecution of juveniles as adults in Common Pleas Criminal division in Erie County versus Cuyahoga, Mahoning etc? I am suggesting that maybe the rate is higher here because the juvenile court has a policy of early intervention and not sending teenagers to be tried as adults. If so that would be a good thing.

Would Mr. Newell be happier if teenagers who allegedly engage in violent acts were prosecuted as adults?