Cleveland City Hall investigating if some drivers were punished too severely: I-Team

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Fox 8 I TEAM has uncovered an internal investigation swirling around the Cleveland Law Department and Cleveland Municipal Court.

Officials are trying to figure out if many drivers were punished more severely than they should have been. Privately, some officers question whether some who had been arrested ever even should have been put in jail.

The cases date back to last year.

A court spokesman says last year, city leaders reduced penalties for more than a dozen traffic crimes including driving under suspension, speed violations, not stopping after an accident and more.

**See the list of charges affected, below**

Mayor Frank Jackson says the mix-up happened because of an accident. He said during a news conference Wednesday, "that laws were renewed, but the penalties were not."

But since then, many drivers have been getting arrested, convicted and sentenced under the original penalties. No one changed the laws back to their original form.

So police say many drivers never should have been arrested and many should have received less punishment.

Cleveland City Hall is investigating.

It has come to the city’s attention that defendants accused of certain traffic offenses may have been improperly sentenced because of changes to the city’s code.

Officials are not sure yet how many cases might be affected, and it’s not clear what happens to those cases now.

**List of charges affected by this:
411.01 Placing Injurious Material or Obstruction in Street
431.38 Stopping for School Bus; Discharging Children
433.03 Maximum Speed Limits; Assured Clear Distance Ahead
433.07 Street Racing and Racing Prohibited
435.01 Driver’s or Commercial Driver’s License Required
435.02 Possession of More Than One Driver’s License Prohibited
435.03 Driving With Temporary Instruction Permit Without Licensed Driver
435.04 Certain Acts Prohibited
435.05 Owner or Operator Allowing Another to Drive
435.06 Display of License
435.07 Driving Under Suspension or Revocation
435.15 Stopping After an Accident Upon Streets; Collision with Unattended Vehicle
435.16 Stopping After Accident Upon Property Other Than Streets
435.17 Vehicle Accident Resulting in Damage to Realty

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