Recently the Cleveland City Council decided not to renew Judge Bob Steelys’ contract with the city. Many came to his courtroom yesterday on tickets just to find him dismissing them or giving them probation.
Today Judge Steely left the courtroom at 11:30 a.m. to finish out his contract. As he left he commented on his actions the past several days. He did confirm the thirty today was heavier then normal. Word got out on the street that it was an amnesty program and friends were calling friends.
One woman arrived a little too late. As she explained she had a warrant to the police officer he advised her the Judge had already left and she was under arrest for that warrant.
The Judge said the city was unable to produce the tickets so he didn’t have a choice. When asked why the city couldn’t produce them he said he had no clerks. “When they found out my contract wasn’t being renewed they retired, one after thirty years.”
He stated if someone came from Houston he wasn’t about to reset it and have them drive back up here.
But when asked how many were dismissed yesterday he said we would have to ask the clerks. Apparently the city has already hired new ones.
The Judge said, “the only ones I have been dismissing were indigent who could not pay it.” When asked what type of proof he required to determine they were indigent the Judge said just a sworn letter. Several of those are handicapped and can’t do community service the Judge said.
One woman came in yesterday with her IRS return to pay her tickets. They were dismissed.
Maria Gonzales came in today to pay her, she said, “ I came in because I had the money ($500) for my warrant, the Judge gave me four hours of community service.”
Her son came in yesterday with a warrant and a fine of $450. The Judge had him pick up three cigarette butts outside and dismissed it.
The mayor of Cleveland had no comment on the situation even though all media requests were being referred to her.