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Felony Division


The Felony Division provides representation in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to individuals are charged with a felony offense and cannot afford counsel. The Felony Division consists of more than forty attorneys, including Felony Division Supervisor Terri Webb and Chief Trial Counsel Russ Tye. Both Ms. Webb and Mr. Tye have extensive felony trial experience. They have represented indigent clients in thousands of felony cases and together they have tried more than one hundred felony cases involving, among other things, charges of aggravated murder, murder, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, rape, kidnapping, and drug offenses. An additional team of support staff, social workers, investigators, law clerks, and trial paralegals is integral to the daily operations of the Felony Division. The goal of the Office is to protect the fundamental rights, liberties, and dignity of each of our clients.

All Felony Division attorneys have previously practiced in a variety of additional courts, including Juvenile, Municipal, Appellate, and Civil. Several Felony Division attorneys also handle specialized dockets, including Mental Health Court, Drug Court, Recovery Court, Veterans Court, and a newly-created High Risk Domestic Violence Court.

The Felony Division is located at 310 Lakeside Avenue, Suite 400, Cleveland Ohio, 44113. If you are a current client with questions, please contact your attorney. If you are looking for legal assistance with or have a question about a felony matter, please either submit a question via email to or contact us at (216) 443-8355.

Felony Attorneys - (216) 443-8355
Terri Webb - Division Director (216) 443-3658
Linda Hricko - Supervising Attorney (216) 443-8377
Valerie Arbie-McClelland (216) 443-3674
Francis Arinze (216) 443-8379
Josh Barnhizer (216) 443-3662
Autumn Basil (216) 443-8389
James Besenyei (216) 443-8364
David Brown (216) 443-8380
Sean Buchanan (216) 443-8370
Joe Buckley (216) 443-3661
Adrienne Cavender (216) 443-3672
Audrey Del-Valle (216) 443-8369
Daryl Dennie (216) 443-8367
Brant DiChiera (216) 698-3208
Maureen Dixon (216) 443-3680
Anduena Dobroshi (216) 443-8385
Sheila Downs (216) 443-3676
Lauren Esarco (216) 698-2494
Jeff Gardner (216) 443-3086
Linda Gonzalez (216) 698-3219
Jason Haller (216) 443-8375
Michael Heffernan (216) 443-8366
Brian Hoffman (216) 443-8384
Sarah Honig (216) 698-4750
Tim Huber (216) 443-3663
Scott Hurley (216) 698-3218
Carlos Johnson (216) 698-2496
Laura Jones (216) 443-3092
Chris Julian (216) 443-3668
Rachel Kalayjian (216) 443-8391
Charles Kozelka (216) 443-8388
Patti London (216) 443-3659
Sean Moore (216) 443-7736
Morgan Pirc (216) 443-7233
Jennifer Pritchard (216) 443-3093
Lisa Rankin (216) 443-8371
Andrew Schriver (216) 443-7778
William Shaughnessy (216) 443-3664
Mark Spadaro (216) 443-8390
Rachelle Summers (216) 443-3656
Sean Sweeney (216) 698-2587
David Tannehill (216) 698-2686
Kelsey Taylor (216) 443-3679

What to Expect

You can find information about your case here.

Arraignment court is held daily starting at 8:30 am on the 12th Floor of the Justice Center. You will receive the notice of your arraignment date by certified mail. Make sure to arrive timely and understand that it will take a few hours to get processed and released. If you (or your loved one) is in the County Jail, the proceeding will be held remotely, via video-conferencing. The arraignment judge will be in the courtroom and will be remotely conferenced in to the Jail.

At the hearing, the arraignment judge will advise you of your rights and you will enter a plea of “not guilty”. Your case will be randomly assigned to a trial court judge. If you do not have funds to hire an attorney, one will be assigned to represent you. Not all cases are assigned to the Office of the Cuyahoga County Public Defender. Members of the private bar might also be assigned to your case by the court. You will be given the name and contact information of the attorney assigned. If your case is assigned to the Public Defender Office, your specific Public Defender will be assigned by the Office. You can contact (216) 443-8355 to learn the name and contact information of the Public Defender assigned to your case. You must provide your best and current contact information to the Office.

A bond will be set and you will then be processed through the jail to provide a DNA sample. Your identifying information will be checked through a national database to determine if you are wanted in any other court.


When you are charged with a felony offense, you have a constitutional right to be represented by counsel. If you cannot afford an attorney, the trial court will appoint one (either the Public Defender’s Office or private appointed counsel). When counsel is appointed, you do not have the right to choose your attorney. You do, however, have the right to expect your appointed counsel to represent you vigorously.

A successful attorney-client relationship is built on trust over time. It requires communication and understanding between the attorney and the client. Please consider the following tips for understanding and fostering that relationship:

You have the right to expect your attorney to:

  • Communicate with you regularly and respond to your phone calls or letters in a timely manner
  • Protect the confidentiality of attorney-client communications
  • Investigate your case (including review discovery provided by the State)
  • Review the facts and evidence of your case with you
  • Tell you about any plea offers in full detail
  • Be punctual for all court dates and personal appointments
  • Provide accurate information about the judge and prosecutor assigned to your case
  • Provide advice on pros and cons of different options (e.g. plea versus trial)
  • Vigorously advocate for you throughout your case

You can help get the best possible result by:

  • Providing complete and accurate information
  • Responding to phone calls from your attorney (remember to check your voicemail)
  • Providing your attorney with any updated contact information
  • Appearing at every court date and meeting on time
  • Asking questions about the case and potential outcomes
  • Refraining from discussing your case with anyone other than your attorney
  • Not posting any information about your case on social media

You have the right to decide the following:

  • Whether to accept a plea or go to trial
  • Whether to testify at trial
  • Whether to waive a jury
  • Whether to appeal

When you are represented by an attorney, the attorney will decide (with your input):

  • What motions to file
  • How to investigate a case
  • How to conduct the trial (what jurors to select, what witnesses to call, what evidence to present, what questions to ask)
  • The central theme of your defense

The arraignment judge will set a bond based on circumstances including your charge, history with the criminal justice system, and a recommendation by the bond commissioner. The bond acts as security for continued appearance at future court hearings

You might have paid a bond already. If so, that bond may be continued. However, the arraignment judge has the right to increase any previously set bond.

You might not have previously paid a bond. If that is the case, the arraignment judge will set a bond determination based on the factors mentioned above. Once the bond is paid, you will be released on the current case. If you cannot afford to the post the bond, you will remain in custody at the Jail. If you have any outstanding warrants you may not be released even if you post a bond in this case.

A motion can be filed with the assigned judge to reduce your bond if necessary.


  • Personal Bond: A dollar value is attached to this type of bond, however, personal bonds do not require any payment for release from custody. Instead, you sign paperwork promising to appear for court and comply with any other conditions of release set by the judge. If you fail to appear for court or violate any other conditions set by the judge, a warrant may issue for your arrest and you may be subject to arrest. Depending on the circumstances of the violation, you could be required to pay the dollar value assigned to the bond and may face additional conditions of release or a different type of bond.

  • Cash/Surety/Property: C/S/P bonds require the payment of cash, surety, or property to secure your release. A dollar value will be set and the cash, surety, or property will be used as “collateral” for your future appearance at court or for any other conditions set. C/S/P bonds may require a posting (or guarantee) of the entire dollar amount or may only require 10% of the dollar amount be posted (also known as a “10% bond”).

If you receive a C/S/P bond or 10% bond, you or someone on your behalf can post the bond by doing one of the following:

  • Posting the bond in-person in the Criminal Division of the Clerk’s Office located on the Second Floor of the Justice Center.
  • Posting the bond by telephone at (216) 698-5867. The telephonic posting of a bond will require a credit card and the ability to receive and complete bond paperwork (an email account with the ability to print and scan paperwork or complete a fillable PDF)

The Clerk’s Office charges an $85 fee on all bonds at the time of posting.

If you cannot afford to post the bond yourself, you can contact the Bail Project, a non-profit organization that provides free bail assistance to low-income individuals. The Bail Project will generally not post bonds in excess of $5000 (or $50,000 10% bonds), though it may make exceptions in certain cases. If they are able to assist you, the Bail Project will post your bond and provide other support (e.g. court reminders) to help you make your court dates. The Bail Project can be reached at (216) 223-8708.

If you cannot post the bond and the Bail Project cannot assist you, you can also enter into a contract with a private bail bond company. Under this arrangement, you pay a fee to the company (usually 10% plus some processing fees) and the company guarantees the remainder of the bond amount. The fee you pay to the private bail bond company will not be returned to you even if you appear at all court hearings and comply with all conditions of release. It is advisable to consult with an attorney prior to contacting a bail bond company.


In addition to requiring the posting of a bond, the judge may also impose non-financial conditions of release including, but not limited to, restrictions on travel, house arrest, electronic monitoring. The failure to comply with any court-ordered conditions of release could subject you to arrest and a possible increase in the amount of bond or the conditions of your release.

Two common conditions of release in Cuyahoga County include:

  • Court Supervised Release (CSR): This is a pre-trial release program where a person is placed under supervision (similar to probation) while the case is being litigated. It will require reporting, drug testing, and may include participation in a drug treatment program and any other conditions that the judge believes are appropriate for your situation. CSR can be ordered as a condition of either personal or C/S/P bonds. The phone number for Court Supervised Release is (216) 443-2152.

  • No Contact Order: In cases where there is an alleged victim, the arraignment judge will often order that you have “no contact” with the alleged victim as a condition of your release. If a “no contact” order is issued, it will be enforced. Violation of no contact orders could result in the forfeiture of your bond and possible arrest.

The case will be set for a first pre-trial hearing. You should contact your attorney prior to the first pre-trial hearing. Make sure you provide your best contact information to your attorney.

Although the rest of the case is an individualized process that you and your attorney must work through together, the Court controls all court dates and enforces failures to appear. Make sure you provide your best contact information to your attorney.

You can find information about your case here.


Communicating With Inmates

There are several ways to communicate and support loved ones who are incarcerated in Cuyahoga County Jail. Family and friends can write letters, call, place money on a commissary account, visit, and video chat with inmates.*

*ALL COMMUNICATIONS WITH INMATES IN THE CUYAHOGA COUNTY JAIL ARE MONITORED AND RECORDED. Never discuss details of a case with anyone other than your attorney. Never discuss details about a case with an inmate who is in Cuyahoga County Jail or with anyone over the phone. Never include details about your case in a letter because incoming and outgoing mail may be monitored.

Information on how to contact inmates can be found at the following sites:


The Case Is Over, Now What?

The Office of the Cuyahoga County Public Defender will file a motion on behalf of any inmate who has not received all the jail time credit to which they are entitled. To have a case reviewed for additional jail time credit, you can call (216) 443-3685 on behalf of the inmate or have the inmate write to request assistance to:

The Office of the Cuyahoga County Public Defender

310 West Lakeside Ave, Suite 400

Cleveland, OH 44113


A trial court does not have the ability to simply change a defendant’s sentence once it has been imposed. However, the trial court may grant early release (called a “judicial release”) under R.C. 2929.20 if the defendant is eligible. Information about eligibility can be found here.

Even if eligible, a defendant is not entitled to early release; it is up to the trial court. A defendant is also not entitled to appointed counsel to file a judicial release motion. Our office will file judicial release motions on a case-by-case basis where, based upon our review, we believe there is a strong likelihood that it will be granted by the court. An inmate can request assistance with a judicial release motion by writing to:

The Office of the Cuyahoga County Public Defender

310 West Lakeside Ave, Suite 400

Cleveland, OH 44113


You can call and request a motion for waiver of court costs on behalf of the inmate at (216) 443-3685 or have the inmate write to request assistance at:

The Office of the Cuyahoga County Public Defender

310 West Lakeside Ave, Suite 400

Cleveland, OH 44113

We may file the motion on the defendant’s behalf or may provide the defendant with a form motion to file on his or her own. A copy of that motion can be found here.


The Office of the Cuyahoga County Public Defender files for driving privileges on a case by case basis. In order to be considered you must:

  1. Have insurance / SR-22 bond,
  2. Be employed and be able to show proof of employment, and
  3. Have a verifiable legitimate reason for the judge to grant privileges.

If you believe you meet the above the conditions please call Amy Goff at (216) 443-3685.


The Office of Cuyahoga County Public Defender files for modifications, or early terminations of community control sanctions on a case by case basis. In order to be considered you must:

  1. Be in full compliance with the terms of your community control.
  2. Be up to date on payment of probation fees.
  3. Fully paid any restitution.

If you believe you meet the above the conditions please call Amy Goff at (216) 443-3685. If you leave a message you must include your probation officer’s name and phone number in addition to your own contact information.