Akron Municipal Court Judge Ron Cable Launches New Program, Celebrates Success of Current Endeavors
In late 2021, Akron Municipal Court Administrative/Presiding Judge Ron Cable introduced the Connect Program created for developmentally disabled individuals in the criminal justice system.
Judge Cable saw the need to create a court-sponsored program serving those men and women with autism, Down syndrome, communication disorders and other developmental disabilities. Currently, two individuals are enrolled.
Connect serves individuals adjudicated in the Akron Municipal Court who are primarily diagnosed with a developmental disability and are receiving services or eligible to receive services from a Developmental Disabilities Board. Many individuals may also have an accompanying mental health diagnosis. Other potentially eligible individuals will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
All Connect participants will be placed on probation for a period not to exceed one year. Participants will abide by the following rules:
- Attend Connect Program statuses as ordered
- Engage in program recommendations suggested by their case manager or team in the community
- Attend all medically scheduled appointments and take medications as prescribed
- Abstain from using alcohol or any illicit substance
“Just like all of our additional programming, Connect works to address an underlying issue or issues that caused the individual to commit a crime,” said Judge Ron Cable. “I am incredibly proud that so many community leaders have devoted their time and energy to the Connect Advisory Board.”
Akron Municipal Court Magistrate Jennifer D. Towell also holds a leadership role in Connect.
“This program was much needed in our jurisdiction,” said Magistrate Towell. “I feel Connect has made a positive impact already and I am excited to see what the future holds. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of Connect from the very beginning.”
Judge Cable and Magistrate Towell each have a child with developmental disabilities and both are proud special needs advocates.
The Connect Advisory Board includes the following:
Court Leaders/Organizations Represented
- Honorable Judge Ron Cable
- Magistrate Jennifer D. Towell
- Akron Municipal Court Probation Department
- Autism Society of Greater Akron
- Blick Center
- City of Akron Prosecutor’s Office
- Copley-Fairlawn City Schools
- Down Syndrome Association of Northeast Ohio
- Empower Sports
- Goodwill Industries of Greater Akron, Ohio, Inc.
- Milestones Autism Resources
- Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities
- Oriana House, Inc.
- Summit County ADM Board
- Summit Educational Service Center
- Summit County Public Defender’s Office
- Summit County Probate Court
- Summit County Board of Developmental Disabilities
- United Disability Services
- University of Akron, School of Social Work and Family Sciences
- David George, Parent and President of Bell Music Company
- Jillian Pelland, Occupational Therapist
- Patti Schachter, Parent and Former Legal Defender
- Autumn Ziemba McKenzie, Parent and Special Needs Advocate
In addition to Connect, Judge Cable leads two specialized dockets: Restore Individual Self-Empowerment (RISE) Court for adults who have been victims of human trafficking and Family Intervention Court for an adult who commits an act/acts of violence against an intimate partner or against another household member.
RISE had its first graduate in 2021 and also received two notable achievements during the calendar year: the Ohio State Bar Association’s Innovative Court Programs and Practices Award and a special recognition from the Ohio House of Representatives. January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
The Innovative Court Programs and Practices Award brings greater visibility to exemplary programs in Ohio's courts and facilitates the transfer of those programs to other courts in the state.
Family Intervention Court graduated 32 individuals in 2020 and 33 individuals in 2021.
Judge Cable was chosen to serve the Akron Municipal Court as its Administrative/Presiding Judge in both 2021 and 2022.