The Human Trafficking Specialized Docket was established on May 22, 2014 as an alternative to traditional criminal case processing to address the needs of adult victims of human trafficking who are forced, compelled or coerced to engage in criminal activities that result in their involvement with the city of Cleveland, Ohio’s criminal legal system.
Considerable planning preceded the start of the Human Trafficking Specialized Docket (HTSD) in 2014. During this time the Honorable Judge Cassidy convened a work group to identify restorative services and treatment for trafficking victims and visited the Honorable Paul Herbert of Franklin County Municipal Court to observe the CATCH program. To promote awareness and education of human trafficking for judges, lawyers, court personnel, advocates and service providers, Judge Cassidy and staff presented “What is Human Trafficking” training where over one hundred attendees participated.
In collaboration with community agencies and Case Western Reserve University, a screening process was developed to assist the court with appropriately identifying trafficking victims. The Cleveland Municipal Court in partnership with the Hitchcock Center for Women will provide gender-specific and trauma informed recovery housing for participants of the Human Trafficking Docket.
The Human Trafficking Docket Advisory Committee was created in June 2014 and is chaired by the Honorable Marilyn B. Cassidy. It is comprised of public officials and policy makers that meet quarterly to provide input on the HTSD policies and operations.
On December 30, 2014 the Cleveland Municipal Human Trafficking Court received formal notification from the Supreme Court of Ohio that it was granted Initial Specialized Docket Certification. This specialized docket is presided over by the Honorable Marilyn B. Cassidy.
Honorable Marilyn B. Cassidy
Human Trafficking Specialized Docket Judge
Marilyn B. Cassidy came to the Cleveland Municipal Court in January of 2007 after being appointed by Governor Robert Taft. Judge Cassidy was elected to a full term commencing in 2008. She comes to the court with a background in nursing and law. A graduate of Shaker Heights High School, she attended Syracuse University and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. After working at the Cleveland Clinic and in public health nursing, she decided to enter law school and graduated from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 1982. Judge Cassidy is admitted to practice in the State of Ohio, the U.S. District Court, Northern District, Eastern Division; U.S. District Court (Michigan), U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit. She is a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and the Ohio state Bar Association, as well as Alpha Chi Omega Sorority and Sigma Theta Tau, National Nursing Honorary.
After passing the bar, Judge Cassidy spent nine years practicing in the private sector, which included insurance and medical malpractice defense, personal injury, liability and matters of adoption. She was appointed by Governor George Voinovich to the Ohio Adoption Task Force and The Ohio Adoption Commission, where she implemented reforms that removed barriers for children in foster care waiting for permanent homes.
In 1992, Judge Cassidy joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, working civil litigation in federal and state courts. As an assistant county prosecutor, Judge Cassidy devoted much of her time to elder protection—investigating abuse, neglect, and exploitation of the elderly.
During her term of service on the Cleveland Municipal Court bench, Judge Cassidy has collaborated with US Marshal Peter Elliot on two projects: Fugitive Safe Surrender, a highly successful program that allows fugitives to voluntarily surrender in the safety of a church. Operation Second Chance addressed minor’s curfew offender’s, and was a collaborative program to identify youth in Cleveland’s Ward 4 who have potential learning disorders. The program screened the offending youth and provided follow up at the school, parenting workshops, and exposed youth to programs that are available at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland.
Judge Cassidy is a mother to two adult children. She enjoys swimming, snow skiing, hiking, traveling and gardening. Judge Cassidy’s interests include judging mock trial events for both high school and law school students as well as speaking to community groups. Click here to learn more about the Honorable Marilyn B. Cassidy.
Kimberly Barnett-Mills, Esq. Interim Chief Prosecutor
City of Cleveland Prosecutor's Office
Domestic Relations Court
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Cuyahoga County Public Defenders Office
Andrea Kinast Deputy Court Administrator
Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court
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Case Western Reserve
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Stephen Morse Program Director
The Honorable Judge Diane Palos
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For more information about the Cleveland Municipal Court Human Trafficking Specialized Docket please contact: