The Bailiff’s Department, a ministerial branch within the Cleveland Municipal Court, was organized at the establishment of the court on January 1st, 1912. Chas L. Selzer was in charge of this department as Chief Bailiff. He later became a Judge in this same court. John Keeley worked alongside of Chief Bailiff Selzer as Chief Deputy. John Keeley was soon promoted to Bailiff in succession to Judge Charles Selzer. In that same year, there were twelve other bailiffs:

  • George Arnold
  • Chas Smith
  • Ed. E. Peck
  • Bernard Mohan
  • Christ McMahon
  • John Kossuth
  • James Gannon
  • Allen Shaw
  • P.J. Daley
  • D.H. Wilder
  • Chas Vavrina
  • Edw. Clobitz

One deputy held the duty of making returns to writs; one to the service of executions; five were assigned to the service of processes; and five to the duties of attendant in court.

Two more bailiffs were added in January 1915, to the department, when the number of cases increased. Police officers for the city of Cleveland prior to 1912, performed the duties of deputy bailiffs in practically all the criminal and quasi-criminal cases.

In 1967, Mercedes Spotts became the first female deputy bailiff for the Cleveland Municipal Court. She later became an Appeals Court Administrator and civic innovator.

Since the start of the Bailiff department, there has been a total of nine Chief Bailiffs.

  • Chas L. Selzer 1911
  • John J. Thumm 1918
  • John J. Keeley
  • John Jack Flanagan
  • Tom Day
  • Michael Flanagan Jr.
  • Robert C. Townsend
  • Paul J. Mizerak (Current)



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