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Meet the May 7th Pre-Trial Justice Panelists

Written by Greater Cleveland Congregations

The GCC's Pre-Trial Justice action will be taking place next Tuesday, May 7th. GCC members, faith leaders, community advocates, and attendees will hear from national pretrial services expert Jessica Ireland and a panel that includes journalist Rachel Dissell, Judge Michelle D. Earley, chief trial counsel Russell Tye, and Tammy Sherman, chief probation officer of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.


Jessica Ireland, senior manager at the Center for Effective Public Policy

A national expert on pretrial services programs, collaboration in the criminal legal system, and implementation of sustainable and effective pretrial system improvements, Jessica provides technical assistance to jurisdictions across the country that are working to improve their pretrial systems. She was the pretrial services program manager for Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Under her leadership, Mecklenburg County Pretrial Services became the first stand-alone jurisdiction to receive national accreditation from the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies.


Rachel Dissell,  community and special projects editor for Signal Cleveland and a contributing editor for The Marshall Project – Cleveland

Rachel focuses on including residents’ voices in criminal justice reporting. She has more than two decades of experience reporting on the justice system. Her investigative pieces have changed laws, policies, hearts, and minds. She was named a John S. Knight Community Impact Fellow in 2021 and is a two-time winner of the Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma for narrative stories about teen dating violence and systemic failures with rape investigations.


Judge Michelle D. Earley, served on the Cleveland Municipal Court since 2009 and became its administrative and presiding judge in 2017

Responsible for the business and overall direction of the court, Judge Earley's commitment to serving the community began with her career path as county prosecutor, where she became responsible for the training and development of trial lawyers. She currently serves on the Case Western Reserve University School of Law’s Diversity Committee and is active in the community through her church, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, and other community organizations.


Russell Tye, chief trial counsel at the Cuyahoga County Public Defender’s Office

Russell has been involved in litigating criminal cases as a private attorney, prosecutor, and public defender for nearly 30 years. He maintains an extensive caseload of homicides, including capital cases, and other serious offenses. Before joining the Public Defender’s Office, he served, for four years, as both co-criminal chief and chief of the newly created Civil Rights Division at the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. As chief of the Conviction Integrity Unit, Mr. Tye conducted extensive investigations into wrongful conviction cases.


Tammy Sherman, chief probation officer for the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas since July 2023

Tammy served as one of the first lead officers in the Probation Department and held this role for five years before being promoted to supervisor. She supervised the court’s GPS Unit and was responsible for the development and implementation of the court’s Active GPS Monitoring Program. In 2020, Chief Sherman was promoted to the role of deputy chief probation officer. She continued her leadership development in this role and assisted the department in navigating the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic for both employees and clients.


This action will be taking place Tuesday, May 7, 2024, at 7 p.m. at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, 8712
Quincy Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106. To attend in person or virtually, please RSVP here.