Tim McGinty, a candidate for Cuyahoga County prosecutor and former Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas judge, got an embarrassing one vote in the county prosecutor debate straw poll sponsored by the East Cleveland Coalition after tackling debate questions about claims of prosecutorial misconduct when he was an assistant county prosecutor before becoming judge. McGinty also allegedly ran from reporters after the debate.
From the Metro Desk of The Kathy Wray Coleman Online New Blog.Com and Cleveland Urban News.Com (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com) and (www.clevelandurbannews.com)
East Cleveland, Ohio-Cuyahoga County prosecutor hopeful Tim McGinty stunned the Black community yesterday by getting only a single vote for a straw poll at a debate for the five candidates for county prosecutor held Sat. afternoon at the East Cleveland Library, an event sponsored by the East Cleveland Coalition and moderated by Fox 8 News Anchor Wayne Dawson and Call and Post Managing Editor Kevin Heard.
Candidate Stephanie Hall, the only Black and woman in the race, won that straw poll, snatching the victory from McGinty, Subodh Chandra, Robert Triozzi and James McDonnell.
A straw poll is an unofficial audience ballot vote taken on the candidates, typically after a political debate, and designed as a indicator of how people there would likely vote on the ballot in the upcoming official election. It has no essential research validity.
Editor's note: This video below, produced by The PlayaT Show (www.playatshow.com) at Saturday's debate at the East Cleveland Library, reveals McGinty dodging legitimate questions on his record as a former Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas judge, and answering questions about his role as a former assistance county prosecutor. The video also has footage of one of McGinty's victims that he prosecuted as an assistant county prosecutor before becoming judge where Michael Green has since been freed via DNA sampling after 13 years in prison on a bogus rape complaint against this innocent Black man by a White woman who later recanted. Below the video is the continuation of this article....
.....East Cleveland is a majority Black impoverished city of some 25,000 people, and a suburb of Cleveland. It is a political hub known for its infighting among Black elected officials, and more recently a ploy by city council in snatching the safety director's job from East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton, who took a reduction of 37,000 from his 77,000 a-year salary, and though he has a wife and three young children.
But on Sat., the Black elected officials of East Cleveland were on the same page in rejecting the 60-year-old McGinty and sending him a message about their displeasure with him.
Longtime community activist and former East Cleveland councilman Charles Bibb Sr., also a founding member of the East Cleveland Coalition, led the debate forum that drew about 75 people.
Others at the debate include Norton, East Cleveland Municipal Court Judge William Dawson, East Cleveland City Council President Dr. Joy Jordan, East Cleveland City Councilman Nate Martin, Call and Post Reporter James Wade, Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Emanuella Groves, Former Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Judge and Current Common Pleas Judicial Candidate Janet Burney, Community Activists Marva Patterson, David Patterson, Ada Averyhart, Terri Tolefree and Denise Taylor, Jeane Joy and African-American Museum Executive Director Frances Caldwell.
Hall won the straw poll with 29 votes, with Chandra getting 16, McDonnell 6, and Triozzi 4. And, again, McGinty got a single vote, though sources said that they do not know who that mysterious one voter is.
The Democratic primary election is March 6, and with no Republicans or Independents in the race, the winner there gets the county prosecutor's job.
Current county prosecutor Bill Mason, engaged in a political corruption probe but not charged with anything, is not seeking a fourth four-year term.
Though respective supporters of the five candidates have their takes on which candidate is best for reasons such as political loyalty, ideological differences and personality preferences, few disagree that the five Democrats are more similar than different in platforms to seek to better Cuyahoga County's embattled legal system.
They want reform in the wake of an ongoing political corruption probe that has netted over 60 guilty pleas or convictions of county Democratic former elected officials, or their friends or associates, including two former common pleas judges and former county auditor Frank Russo. And, seemingly other than McGinty, whose strategy is to criticize Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and his administration at debates over malfeasance around the Imperial Ave. murders to try to swing Black votes his way, they seem to want a system that works for the community, and is fair . Only Hall and Chandra are outright against the death penalty and they, and Triozzi and McDonnell, want more Black assistant county prosecutors, with Hall and Chandra also calling for less malicious prosecutions of Blacks and more substance abuse programs and less jail time for incarcerated defendants convicted of non violent drug crimes.
Hall is a Case Western Reserve University police officer, former Cuyahoga County foreclosure magistrate and prior assistant county prosecutor, and Chandra is a former federal prosecutor and law director under former Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell who is now in private practice. McDonnell is a defense attorney and former North Royalton city prosecutor, and Triozzi is a local attorney, former Cleveland Municipal Court judge, and prior law director under Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.
A former Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge who before that was an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor under the then powerful county prosecutor John Corrigan, McGinty was forced to admit before the predominantly Black audience that came to hear the candidates that he has been repeatedly accused of prosecutorial misconduct and on at least some four occasions when he was an assistant county prosecutor.
That invitation for an admission came when Chandra called it to his attention, after Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper reporter James Ewinger posed a question to the former judge around his prosecutorial mishaps, when he was an assistant county prosecutor.
Cuyahoga County, Ohio's largest among 88 counties nation wide, is roughly 30 percent Black.
If debates say anything about the chances of winning, as they often do in America's contests for president, Cuyahoga County prosecutor candidate Tim McGinty is betting near zero in support from the Black community.
He skipped the first debate, one held Jan. 5 by grassroots activists and Black elected officials at Lil Africa Party Center in Cleveland, and the most attended one in the Black community, as it was sponsored by The Imperial Women Coalition, The Audacity of Hope Foundation and The Cleveland African-American Museum. But he attended those recently held in the predominantly White cities of Brecksville and Cleveland Hts., and he went to the one held two weeks ago by the Northshore AFL-CIO Federation of Labor. He also attended a debate last week with the other four candidates in Glevnville that Cleveland Ward 8 Councilman Jeff Johnson spearheaded, one where community activists asked him about his record.
"What about the Michael Green case?" asked Community Activist David Patterson, referencing a criminal case where Green, a Black man, was freed a decade or so ago with DNA sampling after serving 13 years in prison on a bogus rape conviction that followed the testimony of a blond White woman who later recanted.
That prosecution came due to an over zealous McGinty, then an assistant county prosecutor who later told reporters after becoming a judge that all he could say is "I'm sorry."
And as a judge McGinty has had orders to illegally imprison Black men overturned on appeal, and those to harass women and American Indians. He issued the warrant for police to storm the family home of 16-year-old Brandon McCloud, a Black teen accused of robbing a pizza delivery man who was shot and killed in a closet in his home by Cleveland police some 12 times, though unarmed. And to make matters worse, in preparing to go after McCloud, police were allegedly caught on tape saying something to the fact of let's kill somebody today.
McGinty is having difficulties with endorsements, winning the nod of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association and a few others while being shunned collectively by county Democratic party big wigs and by most of his former judicial colleagues that he publicly criticizes.
Ohio judges, by law, can't endorse, but can give moral support and attend campaign fundraisers, something they routinely do, particularly relative to Cuyahoga County politics and the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party.
Reach Kathy Wray Coleman by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and by telephone at 216-932-3114.