This Week in the CLE
A review and analysis of the week's news in Northeast Ohio
3 years ago

This Week in the CLE - August 22, 2019

Botched voter purge, death knell for executions, three judges in controversy, Cleveland’s rare moment and Troy Smith on the Avengers

Episode Notes

Is the move to purge inactive voters in Ohio a worthy effort to keep the voter rolls straight or a botched job that should be halted? We start the latest episode of This Week in the CLE by looking at Frank LaRose’s at once enlightened and seriously flawed effort.

This Week in the CLE is a podcast discussion and analysis of the latest news by the people who bring it to you, the reporters and editors at We try something different this week, by focusing on just one or two reporters per segment, for a deeper dive into the news stories they covered.

Statehouse reporter Andrew Tobias stands in for the first segment, talking about the voter purge as well as a proposal to streamline voter registration, at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Special Projects Manager Laura Johnston and I also talk with Andrew about a proposal to use fentanyl seized by police as the drug for Ohio executions, an idea with no traction, mainly because it is illegal. And we talk about a growing sentiment that all of the controversy around capital punishment in Ohio might make it obsolete.

Andrew also helps us understand why Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder appears ready to block Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposals for keeping guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.

In a piece of what could be good news, we talk with Andrew about Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague’s ResultsOHIO program, which builds in some innovative safeguards for taxpayers before the state pays for experimental programs, like one in Northeast Ohio aimed at reducing the chances that people leaving prison will commit new crimes.

In our second segment, Laura and I talk with court reporters Eric Heisig and Cory Shaffer about breaking news and some thoughtful reporting they have published of late.

Cory takes us through a discussion about former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Lance Mason, who murdered his wife, and Eric explains the ramifications of a settlement by a couple of opioid makers in a huge set of lawsuits filed in Northeast Ohio.

We talk with Cory about his recent story about a Cuyahoga County judge who is costing taxpayers a lot of money because he is moving his docket along much more slowly than other judges. Cory also discusses his story about a recent sentencing in the courtroom of Judge Daniel Gaul, who was featured prominently in the Serial podcast about Cuyahoga County.

Eric has written a bunch of stories about people accused of plotting terror in Ohio and discusses the difficult decisions that federal investigators face when trying to determine the line where free speech ends and criminality begins. He wrote a story on the topic after sitting down to chat with U.S.Attorney Justin Herdman.

A lawsuit filed in federal court by a Cleveland police officer feeds another discussion with Eric. The officer claims Cleveland is compelling police who work extra hours to take comp time instead over overtime pay.

Cory explains how the chief judge in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court is considering a run for the Ohio Supreme Court, as is former Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. And Cory closes the segment with his take on the guilty plea of the former Cuyahoga County jail warden and his promise to cooperate with criminal investigations there.

Reporter Mary Kilpatrick and Public Interest and Advocacy manager Mark Vosburgh join me and Laura to talk about how the next seven months likely will determine Cleveland’s prosperity over the coming decades. I wrote a column about the topic, and Ray Leach, CEO of JumpStart, visited us this week to share why he feels optimistic.

The conversations about Cleveland prosperity involve a lot of thought about poverty, and Cleveland City Hall reporter Bob Higgs rings in with a recent proposal from City Council President Kevin Kelley to provide attorneys to parents in poverty who are facing eviction.

And we wrap up the podcast with Troy Smith, who sat down recently with Anthony Russo, one of the directors of the most successful movie in history, Avengers End Game. Troy is an expert on the Marvel universe and found some new insights in the conversation.