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Cuyahoga County criminal division clerk manager is reassigned after helping judges and prosecutors fix indictments against Blacks in what activists call organized crime, racism and public corruption....By, Ohio's Black digital news

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Staff article: investigative article

CLEVELANDURANNEWS.COM-CLEVELAND, Ohio-The Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas criminal division manager under Clerk of Courts Nailah Byrd who allegedly helped sinister White judges and prosecutors fix grand jury indictments against Blacks is now a policy adviser to Cuyahoga County Council after first being reassigned as an assistant to the county executive , an investigation by and reveals.

And the grand jury indictments are marked by judicial, prosecutorial and other entrenched impropriety, public records show, including tampering with records by concealing the original indictments with a forged indictment of more charges when crooked White cops after Blacks are the primary complainers or culprits in the cases. And White men, largely judges and assistant county prosecutors, are primarily at the helm, data show

James Boyle, the common pleas criminal division clerk manager under Byrd in 2015 when the indictments were allegedly being fixed in mass was reassigned to advise and assist then County Executive Armond Budish after the indictment fixing was exposed. He is now a county policy advisor.

Grassroots community activists of Cleveland say it is more evidence of organized crime, racism and public corruption in county government.

Boyle's name was visibly listed on the county's online website, specifically as a policy advisor, but has since been removed, an indication, say activists, that county officials were actually boasting about getting away with public corruption by protecting the culprits who allegedly do their bidding by getting them other county jobs.

Boyle was first reassigned in 2016 as a high-paid assistant to then county executive Amond Budish, before becoming a policy advisor to county council and after he allegedly helped to fix indictments.

A Democrat, Budish did not seek reelection last year after a series of FBI investigations and at least two raids on his county offices in downtown Cleveland, not to mention a host of criminal convictions of ranking county officials, including the county jail director and jail warden under him.

When asked why Boyle was reassigned and where to, Byrd's office would only say that he is no longer the criminal division common pleas court clerk manager.

Activists say that Boyle, a White man who does not even reside in the county, should have been prosecuted and fired instead of being reassigned, and that the reassignments suggests that county officials are in on the public corruption and racism targeted against the county's Black community.

Instead of being disciplined for his alleged malfeasance, Boyle is now a chief adviser to County Council and Council President Pernel Jones of Cleveland, who is Black, and he sometimes represents Jones at County Board of Control meetings, often doing his bidding on controversial public policy matters, public records show.

"For a Black elected official like County Council President Pernel Jones to protect Whites involved in public corruption against the Black community is unacceptable and irresponsible," said Black on Black Crime activist Alfred Porter Jr in calling for an immediate FBI probe.

Research also reveals that White common pleas judges, White men in particular, are self-assigning themselves to cases before indictments come down in order to manipulate the grand jury indictment process against Blacks targeted by the police and the system. This, say activists, is central to the alleged crime syndicate that plagues the county common pleas court.

Cuyahoga County, which includes the majority Black city of Cleveland, is a 29 percent county and the second largest of Ohio's 88 counties. It is a Democratic stronghold and Democrats basically run the county, which is now led by County Executive Chris Roynane, who reappointed Byrd to her clerk of courts post under the county's current governance structure. It took effect in 2011 after county voters , via referendum, scrapped the three county commissioners setup for an 11-member county council and made the county offices, all but the county prosecutor, county executive, and judges, appointed and not elected positions as they previously were.

Whether the corruption that prompted the governance change is effective remains to be seen, though research shows that the corruption might now be more compartmentalized with systemic problems throughout the continuum, and at practically every layer of county government, including the county courts, and clerk's office, and the atrocious county jail

Jail inmates have been dying questionable in droves before and since a 2018 US Marshal's report that found the jail inhumane and grossly unconstitutional.

These illegal judicial self-assignments purportedly violate the Ohio Rules of Superintendence, which require that judges in multi-judge trial courts in Ohio are assigned via random draw. But the assignment and reassignment of common pleas judges to cases in the county is deeply steeped in corruption, sources say, and data suggests,

In one case involving a maliciously indicted Black defendant the late Judge Joseph Russo, who frequently missed work but could often be seen on Facebook with a drink in his hand, and died suddenly in 2021, assigned himself to a case before an indictment came down so an indictment could be fixed. This is an indication, say sources, that the judges are illegally manipulating the grand jury indictment process.

He then committed falsification and and tampered with records and lied in journal entries, saying the defendant had requested continuances for pretrials before getting indicted. And thereafter then chief judge John Russo kept him on the case as did the late Judge Michael Russo, who oversaw the grand jury process for the case. Michael Russo has since died after a purported terminal illness, and following his routine manipulation of the grand jury indictment process. Grand jury foremen appointed by the judges, usually suburban-types, including city mayors, also helped with the indictment fixing, data reveals.

All three of the White, male judges at issue also covered up indictment fixing along with county prosecutors and the Clerk of Courts office after the original indictments were altered and the charges involving dirty White cops upped without a grand jury amendment. Judge Joe Russo then went on to further harass the defendant, public records show, by doing things like doubling an already paid bond and falsifying journal entries with more lies, among other things.

When the defendant filed an affidavit of prejudice with the Ohio Supreme court he quit the case and John Russo, then the chief judge, reassigned it to Judge Nancy Margaret Russo, who harassed the defendant and further corrupted the case before she quit under the lie that activists who picketed her for documented malfeasance had defamed her online. It was then reassigned by Judge John Russo to Judge Nancy A. Fuerst manually, also in violation of the random draw mandate for judges.

Fuerst then lied at a pretrial and said she was assigned by random draw, which is not reflected on the case docket, and went on to cover up the indictment fixing and to harass the Black defendant at every turn. She also assigned indigent counsel (Brian McGraw), who worked against his client He later withdrew as defense counsel when activists began preparing to picket him, and died last year of an undisclosed illness.

Data also show that Fuerst met in a backroom with McGraw and assistant county prosecutor Brandon Piteo and the trio agreed off record that she would issue an order threatening to jail or institutionalize the defendant if activists picketed over the matter and if the defendant failed to go along with what Piteo and McGraw wanted such as not asking McGraw to seek dismissal of the case on speedy trial grounds.

Fuerst also said in her order that if the Black defendant criticized her, McGraw or Piteo by written or "spoken word" and if the defendant asked McGraw to file motions that she and Piteo disagreed with the defendant would be jailed or institutionalized. This too is unconstitutional, sources say, and authorities suggest, and it is proof that the county prosecutor's office under County Prosecutor Mike O'Malley is a major source of the problem with the county's criminal justice system as it relates to Black people who are disproportionately indicted, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned. .

The malfeasance escalated when Fuerst refused to jounalize when the defendant showed for trial to try to get around the speedy trial mandate and then issued a capius warrant saying the defendant missed a subsequent and secret trial date not jounalized by the judge and without official notice with McGraw saying later that she unofficially told him about the secret trial date.

After McGraw withdrew Fuerst refused to appoint substitute indigent counsel, saying Blacks and others who do not do what she says waive their right to indigent counsel, even though state law and the US Constitution mandate indigent counsel to poor people facing the state as an adversary who could lose their liberty rights.

Not one constitutional or state law provision, or any other authority, supports Fuerst's posture that she can personally waive the right to indigent counsel, which activists say raises a red flag and merits a criminal investigation in the least.

Chief County Public Defender Cullen Sweeney also colluded with the judge and prosecutors and told the defendant that his office would not supply indigent counsel as required by law and the county, led by County Executive Chris Roynane, is doing nothing about the racism and public corruption.

Sweeney has said that the judges can do as that want to do to Blacks and that his office has agreed to withhold indigent counsel even when they issue illegal warrants. Black Cleveland area community activists want him investigated and fired by the county, and possibly prosecuted after an FBI probe.

Community activists appalled by the aforementioned filed a citizen's criminal complaint seeking criminal charges against Fuerst for falsification, tampering with records, covering up fixed indictments, denying Blacks indigent counsel, and violating their civil rights. It remains pending.

Cuyahoga County includes Cleveland and is roughly 29 percent Black.
THIS IS PART OF A  MULTI-PART SERIES ON CUYAHOGA COUNTY PUBLIC CORRUPTION INITIATED IN 2017 and, Ohio's most read Black digital newspaper and Black blog with some 5 million views on Google Plus alone.Tel: (216) 659-0473 and Email: Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, and who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio. We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS.


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