Valor Court

Valor Court was established in 2013 and it received Ohio Supreme Court Certification on 12/31/2013, 1/1/2016 and 1/1/2019.

Mission Statement

Akron Municipal Court aims to assist veterans with access to programs, treatment and interaction with mentors in a collaborative initiative to enhance chances of success.

Description

Valor Court is a specialized docket dedicated to defendants with military service involved in the criminal justice system. The court emphasizes alternative methods with a non-adversarial approach to addressing the offense. Valor Court is a two-track model with diversion for non-violent offenses (Intervention In Lieu of Conviction) and non-diversion (Post-Conviction or Probation Track) programs. The program is a one-year intensive program that includes frequent appearances before the Valor Court Judge, intensive supervision, linkage with the Veteran's Administration system, resource assistance through the Veteran's Service Commission, mental health and substance abuse counseling, frequent and random drug testing, and graduated sanctions and rewards. Participation is voluntary.

Eligibility

Defendants with nonviolent charges within the Akron Municipal Court system may be eligible for admission to this program.

If deemed appropriate by a Judge, the Defendant will be sent to the Probation Department to begin initial screening. The Probation Officer will review the program with the defendant, review his/her military history and complete a summary clinical assessment. At this time, the Probation Officer will request the defendant sign a continuance to the next Valor Court date.

Court Schedule/Location

Valor Court sessions are held in the courtroom of Judge Jerry Larson, Room 943, on predetermined Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. Treatment team meetings and peer-mentor interactions occur before the court session.

History

Judge Larson established the Akron Municipal Valor Court in conjunction with Summit County Court of Common Pleas Veteran Court with an opening ceremony on September 17, 2013; the first of its kind in the state of Ohio. "By working together at both the felony and misdemeanor levels, we will provide consistent supervision to the veteran population that we serve in Summit County," said Judge Larson.

Judge Jerry Larson

Judge Jerry Larson

Team Members

  • The Honorable Judge Jerry Larson
  • Valor Court Coordinator Jonathan Groza
  • Chief of Probation Tony Ingram
  • Deputy Chief of Probation Jeff Sturmi
  • Probation Officer Matt Esterle
  • City of Akron Prosecutor's Office
  • Summit County Legal Defender's Office
  • Veteran Justice Outreach Specialist
  • Veteran Mentor Coordinator
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Community Legal Aid
  • Akron Police Department
  • Summit County Veteran Commission