COLUMBUS – Supreme Court of Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor announced Wednesday the formation of the Task Force to Examine Improvements to the Ohio Grand Jury System.
The concept of a grand jury has been part of the federal system since 1791 and a constant in the Ohio Constitution’s Bill of Rights as far back as 1802. Every state constitutional revision since has preserved the protection of the grand jury.
“To be clear, this task force is being asked to recommend ways to improve the functioning of grand juries and to see what additional steps can be taken to improve the public’s confidence in our justice system,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “It is not being asked to determine whether the grand jury system should be eliminated.”
Chaired by Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Stephen L. McIntosh, the task force includes a diverse group of 18 professionals who are judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law professors, legislators, members of law enforcement, and community leaders.
The task force will hold its first meeting on Feb. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center, 65 S. Front St., Columbus. The meeting is open to the public, but seating is limited. The task force has been asked to submit its final report and recommendations by June 15, 2016.
Task force members are:
-Judge Stephen L. McIntosh – Franklin County Common Pleas Court (chair)
-Prosecutor Daniel R. Lutz – Wayne County (vice chair)
-Sen. Kevin Bacon – District 3
-Sen. Edna Brown – District 11
-Judge Joyce A. Campbell – Fairfield Municipal Court
-Rep. Robert R. Cupp – District 4
-Judge Michelle D. Earley – Cleveland Municipal Court
-Judge William R. Finnegan – Marion County Common Pleas Court
-Judge Steven E. Gall – Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
-Professor Mark A. Godsey – University of Cincinnati College of Law
-Judge Michael R. Goulding – Lucas County Common Pleas Court
-Colonel Chief Eliot Isaac – City of Cincinnati Police Department
-President/CEO Janet E. Jackson – United Way of Central Ohio
-Judge Melissa A. Powers – Hamilton County Municipal Court
-Professor Ric Simmons – The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
-Rep. Fred Strahorn – District 39
-Defense Attorney Roger Synenberg – Synenberg, Coletta & Moran, LLC
-Judge Stephen A. Wolaver – Greene County Common Pleas Court