Akron Municipal Court Specialized Docket Receives Final Certification, New Name

Akron Municipal Court’s specialized docket that increases public safety and supports recovery and treatment for repeat Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (OVI) offenders recently earned its final certification from the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on Specialized Dockets. This specialized docket, led by Administrative/Presiding Judge Nicole Walker, is now certified through December 31, 2021.

Specialized dockets are courts that are dedicated to specific types of offenses or offenders and use a combination of different techniques for holding offenders accountable while also addressing the underlying causes of their behavior. The requirements to enroll in this specific specialized docket include receiving a second or third OVI conviction in ten years and a willingness to participate in active recovery.

The certification requirements include establishing eligibility requirements, evaluating effectiveness of the specialized docket and assembling a treatment team for implementing daily operations of the specialized docket. In order to receive the certification, the local court had to submit an application, undergo a site visit, and provide specific program materials in response to certification standards that went in to effect in January 2014.

This program, formerly known as OVI Court, is now known as Active Recovery Creates Hope (ARCH).

“Updating the name from OVI Court to ARCH Court will certainly have a positive influence on the men and women we serve and our programming as a whole,” said Akron Municipal Court Administrative/Presiding Judge Nicole Walker. “The environment in each session is positive and uplifting. The new name reinforces that alcohol abuse is a treatable disease.”

Statistics prove the positive impact this specialized docket has on our community. For example, there were 55 graduates from this specialized docket in 2019. The 2019 graduation rate was 90%. 

In 2019, this specialized docket received generous grant dollars from The Maynard Family Foundation, the Akron Bar Foundation, the Lloyd L. and Louise K. Smith Memorial Foundation and the Ohio State Bar Foundation to purchase copies of Alcoholics Anonymous and the SMART Recovery Handbook to present to new enrollees.

In addition to ARCH Court, the Akron Municipal Court has four additional specialized dockets: Mental Health Court led by Judge Annalisa S. Williams, Valor Court led by Judge Jerry Larson, Recovery Court led by Judge Jon Oldham and Family Intervention Court led by Judge Ron Cable. Each specialized docket holds sessions 2-4 times per month.

Judge Nicole Walker was elected to the bench in November 2017 and began presiding over this specialized docket in January 2019. She became the administrative/presiding Judge of the Akron Municipal Court earlier this month.

More information about ARCH Court’s eligibility, its model and its goals can be found by visiting

Judge Nicole Walker

Judge Nicole Walker