Anyone with access to the internet can look up felony court cases in Cuyahoga County one by one. But understanding how case outcomes vary by judge or by a defendant’s race is impossible without being able to examine all the cases together.

The court doesn’t release that data publicly, and The Marshall Project and Signal Cleveland believe that transparency is essential to understanding flaws in the criminal justice system, including the disproportionate incarceration of Black Clevelanders. 

The Marshall Project is scraping records from the court’s public docket and is committed to answering questions directly from community members about the court system.

This type of transparency alone can’t change the harms experienced by people in the system. We hope it will spark conversation and deeper understanding of how the court operates.

See some of the questions we already answered in this post or check out The Marshall Project Testify FAQ page for the most up to date answers.

Submit your questions in the box below. 

Reported and written by Ilica Mahajan, Rachel Dissell, Anna Flagg and Liset Cruz

Edited by David Eads

Design by Elan Kiderman Ullendorff and Katie Park

Development by Katie Park

The Marshall Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system. Through a partnership with Signal Cleveland, The Marshall Project is weaving more resident voices into its reporting and building an understanding about how the justice system works — and doesn’t work — in Cleveland.