Imperial Avenue judges: Timothy McGinty

CLEVELAND - Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Timothy McGinty was the first judge assigned to the trial of an East Cleveland man accused of killing 11 women and leaving their bodies around his Imperial Avenue home.

But McGinty wasn't on the case of 51-year-old Anthony Sowell for long. He received the case on Dec. 8, 2009 and removed himself just a few days later because of a conflict However, that was not the end to McGinty's influence on the case.

In May 2010, he took the stand in Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold's courtroom, following a request from Sowell's defense to speak with him. The defense claimed that McGinty and Saffold had an ex parte conversation, meaning the attorneys were not present. McGinty said he had a five-minute chat about the case.

Saffold was later removed from the case by the Ohio Supreme Court.

McGinty also admitted, during the hearing, was he showed Sowell's court-ordered psychological reports to a Plan Dealer reporter. That kept the reporter, Gabriel Baird, out of jail, after Saffold had sent deputies to the paper to arrest him for not revealing his sources.

McGinty was an assistant prosecutor in Cuyahoga County from 1982 to 1992. He studied at Cleveland Marshall College of Law and has been common pleas judge since 1993.

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