Mahoning Prosecutor’s Office Releases Annual Report | News, Sports, Jobs


Family members of Ryan Lanzo, left, thank Mahoning County Assistant District Attorneys Mike Yacovone and Rob Andrews in July 2021 after Michael Malvasi II of Canfield was sentenced in a joint appeals court to 12 years in prison for killing Lanzo in an accident and left the scene.

YOUNGSTOWN — Mahoning County Attorney Paul Gains says his office prepared its first-ever annual report for 2021 to “ensure transparency” and that he plans to release it every year.

Gains made comments at the beginning of the 19-page report, but Gina DeGenova, Gains’ chief assistant, said last week she gathered the stats and did much of the legwork.

She said after Gains added the public information officer job to her job description a year ago, she “started thinking about what other prosecutors’ offices across the country are doing. I wanted to take the best ideas out of the offices that I saw.” One thing she found was that many prosecutors released an annual report.

“I thought this would be a good way for us to record our activities over the course of a given year and show our testimonies to the public. Here’s what we did this year. Those are the issues we worked on,” she said.

YEAR OF ACTIVITY

The document, released last week, provides statistics and pie charts on criminal cases, appellate court cases, and juvenile and civil cases handled in 2021. For example, the Bureau has processed 12 jury trials in the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court and pleaded guilty to verdicts in all 12 of them. There were also eight trials before a judge without a jury. Six ended in conviction and two resulted in acquittal.

Prosecutors “opened” 875 cases through grand juries in courts for collective actions, and resolved 916 cases in 2021 by lawsuit or trial. Prosecutors “open” cases through a grand jury and through other means such as probation violations, DeGenova said.

Of the 916 cases closed, 577 resulted in a conviction. Another 118 defendants participated in a diversionary program. 70 defendants saw their charges dismissed and 27 cases were dropped because the grand jury refused to indict. In 56 cases, the public prosecutor’s office refused to bring charges.

DeGenova also presented statistics for 2019 and 2020 showing that COVID-19 impacted the number of cases treated in 2020 and 2021.

In 2019, before COVID-19 began, prosecutors opened 1,119 cases through grand juries and other means, and resolved 1,111 cases through plea bargains, trials and other similar methods.

In 2020, prosecutors opened 814 cases through grand juries and other means, and closed 873 cases. The number was undoubtedly lower because of COVID-19, DeGenova said. For one, the spring 2020 grand juries didn’t meet for about two months because Ohio’s COVID-19 lockdown required all but essential workers to stay home.

In 2021, the number of cases treated increased but did not return to pre-COVID levels. “It’s on the up again,” DeGenova said of the case numbers.

Regarding the number of people who can be diverted from prison into treatment, Gains said he supports “the belief that treatment is often a more productive option than punishment for achieving justice and providing security for citizens.”

Such programs can result in the person avoiding criminal convictions if they successfully complete a treatment program. “These programs help people who suffer from mental health disorders and addictions,” Gains said.

The prosecutor’s office has four employees who work with victims and witnesses of crime. “Our four victim coordinators connect thousands of crime victims and witnesses each year (5,689 in 2021) and help them navigate everything from the loss of a loved one to documenting and requesting reparations,” Gains said.

Of the 70 cases dismissed in 2021, 14 resulted from the death of the defendant. Another 19 were because the person was charged with the same federal crime. In eight cases, the charges were dropped because the victim and/or witness refused to cooperate with prosecutors.

Prosecutors reviewed criminal cases involving 210 juveniles in 2021 and filed complaints against 198 of them in Mahoning County Juvenile Court. No statistics are available for previous years, DeGenova said.

BIG CASES

The report lists four “notable criminal cases” from 2021.

The list includes Michael Malvasi II, 30, of Canfield, who was convicted in court of aggravated vehicle homicide and other felonies for crashing a car in Canfield in 2017 and leaving the scene on foot without calling 911 and going home. He left passenger Ryan Lanzo, 23, at the scene. He later returned in another car, loaded Lanzo in and drove him to Malvasi’s house, where Malvasi’s father, Michael Sr., drove Lanzo to an Austintown clinic, where Lanzo was pronounced dead.

Michael Malvasi II was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Gains also listed the Anthony Consiglio case, which resulted in the 26-year-old Youngstown man serving 19 1/2 to 25 years in prison for raping his elderly relative. He was convicted in a no-jury trial before Judge R. Scott Krichbaum.

The first of two murder cases that Gains listed was that of Francis “Jerry” Rydarowicz, 50, formerly of Hubbard, who was sentenced to 15 years to life for killing his wife, Katherine, at the King’s Motel in Coitsville Township in 2019. A jury found Rydarowicz guilty.

Gains also detailed the aggravated murder case of Traeshaun Turner, 27, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for shooting dead Ishmael Bethel, 25, near the Southern Tavern on Glenwood on September 8, 2020 and arming a young girl Avenue had shot in Youngstown.

The prosecutor’s office also handles appeals in Mahoning County criminal cases. In 2021, there were 59 appeals to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court. Prosecutors filed 53 merit briefs, which constitute the primary filing in an appeal. It also heard hearings in 26 cases and also responded to 19 court applications from convicts to have their convictions overturned.

LEGAL ADVICE

The report notes that the prosecutor’s office “continues to excel” in its lesser-known role of providing legal services to the county commissioners and other county offices, as well as to all community boards in the county and government agencies such as the board. by Elections and County Children Services Board.

In 2021, Civil Division prosecutors drafted and/or reviewed 1,129 contracts and processed 2,668 legal matters, such as providing legal advice to government agencies, writing legal opinions and filing enforcement complaints.

In 2021, prosecutors from the Civil Chamber attended 651 hearings on matters involving child abuse, neglect or dependency in Mahoning County Juvenile Court.

In 2020, prosecutors drafted or reviewed 1,184 contracts and handled 2,187 civil cases with legal advice for government agencies. DeGenova said the lower number of civil cases handled could be related to the lower number of foreclosures filed in 2020 because of the pandemic.

The Civil Chamber filed 535 foreclosure complaints in 2021 on behalf of the Mahoning County Treasurer and the Mahoning County Land Bank.

The prosecution also provided legal advice to the district commissioners on the use of the American bailout plan funds that the commissioners received. This enabled the commissioners to allocate more than $20 million in ARP funding to local businesses and public entities in 2021.

The report is available at prosecutor.mahoningcountyoh.gov and on Facebook and Twitter.

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