Thomas J. Morris
Thomas J. Morris has represented the City of Wadsworth as the Assistant Law Director since May 2014. He became the full time prosecutor in September 2014. Previously, he was with the firm of Palecek McIlvaine Hoffman & Morse Co., LPA where he practiced criminal law, civil litigation, and general practice. Prior to that, he was a law clerk for the Honorable James L. Kimbler. Mr. Morris is a graduate of WadsworthHigh School, The Ohio State University with a B.A. in economics, and the University of Akron School of Law where he received his J.D. Mr. Morris is a member of the Medina County Bar Association, The Ohio State Bar Association, and Leadership Medina County.
The duties of the director of law include serving as general legal counsel to city officials and prosecuting misdemeanor cases in the Wadsworth Municipal Court.
As general legal counsel to city officials, the director of law is involved in preparing ordinances and resolutions for city council, reviewing and preparing a wide variety of legal documents involving the City of Wadsworth, representing the City of Wadsworth in lawsuits and giving legal advise on questions posed by city officials in their official capacity.
As prosecutor in the Wadsworth Municipal Court, the director of law prosecutes misdemeanor cases against adults that are alleged to have occurred in either the City of Wadsworth or in the unincorporated areas in Wadsworth Township, Sharon Township, Guilford Township, Westfield Township, Harrisville Township or Homer Township. (Felony cases and cases against juveniles are prosecuted by the Prosecuting Attorney of Medina County.)
If a person wants to file a criminal charge against someone or report a criminal offense, the person should initially contact the Wadsworth Police Department if the alleged incident occurred in the City of Wadsworth or the Medina County Sheriff's Department if the alleged incident occurred in one of the townships. The Wadsworth Police Department or Medina County Sheriff's Department will prepare a report for the director of law or an assistant director of law to review and determine if there is a proper basis for a criminal prosecution.
If the alleged offense involves a building or zoning code violation, county park regulation, or hunting or wildlife issue, the person should contact the official who investigates the specific type of violation.
If the person is in doubt as to who to contact, the person should call the law director's office for information on how to proceed. If an alleged offense occurred in any other political subdivision, the person should contact the law enforcement agency for the subdivision for it to prepare a report and refer the matter to the appropriate prosecutor.
I have received a bad check. What do I do?
Follow the link to see the law departments policy on bad checks.
My neighbor's tree is hanging over my house/in my yard. Can I cut it?
An individual may trim the portion of the tree that is on his/her property. However, that individual may be liable for any damage that may be caused to the tree.
I need a restraining order. How do I get one?
There are only two types of protection orders available through the law director's office. The first is a temporary protection order that is filed in conjunction with a criminal complaint for domestic violence or threatening domestic violence. The other is an anti-stalking protection order. Again this is filed in conjunction with certain types of criminal charges such as assault, menacing, etc.
Civil protection orders and civil anti-stalking protection orders are available through the Medina Common Pleas Court. These orders are not related to criminal charges. The law director's office cannot assist in obtaining these orders. It is recommended that those individuals seeking these types of protection orders speak to a private attorney for more information.
My ex-spouse violated our child visitation agreement. What can I do?
Matters related to a possible violation of an order issued by a domestic relations court must be addressed with the court that issued the order. This matter may be heard before the issuing court in a civil contempt of court hearing. It is recommended that you contact your private attorney to discuss this issue in greater detail.
I have a problem with my landlord/tenant. Can you help me?
Unfortunately, the law directors office cannot help individuals with a private legal issue. The responsibility of the law director is to represent the City of Wadsworth and the citys officials in making decisions that affect the city. The area of landlord/tenant law is a very broad subject and it is recommended that an individual contact a private attorney for guidance in this area.
Does the city have an ordinance about dangerous dogs?
Yes, the city has an ordinance that pertain to dangerous dogs. The ordinance defines dangerous and vicious dogs. View the ordinance in its entirety in the Codified Ordinances of the City of Wadsworth, § 90.32. Contact the clerk of council or the law director's department if you have more questions about this subject.
Does the city have a "leash law?"
The city has an ordinance that prohibits dogs from running at large. § 90.01 of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Wadsworth states that "a person who is the owner or has charge of any animal shall not permit it to run at large in the public road, highway, street, lane, or alley, or upon unenclosed land, or permit them to go upon any private yard, lot, or enclosure without the consent of the owner of the yard, lot, or enclosure."
My neighbors cat runs in my yard or is on my porch. Is there a loose cat ordinance?
No, the City of Wadsworth does not have a loose cat ordinance.
Bad Check Policy
The law department is often asked what the proper procedure is for handling a "bad check." Following are the steps that should be followed if one wishes to pursue criminal charges against an individual for writing a bad check:
A letter must be written to the person who wrote the bad check. If the check was a joint account check, then address the letter to the person who signed the check.
The letter should include the following: check information i.e. name to whom check was written, date the check was written, check number, the amount of the check; why the check was returned. (non-sufficient funds, closed account, etc.); any charges or fees that you wish to collect; and notify the check writer that they have ten (10) days from receipt of your letter to make full payment on the check, including any charges or fees.
If the check writer makes no attempt to pay the amount owed in the allotted time, then a report must be filed with the appropriate law enforcement department for the jurisdiction in which the check was received. Provide all of the above documents/information to that department.
The law enforcement agency will conduct an investigation of the matter. After the investigation has been completed and if the person still has not paid for the check, criminal charges may be filed against the individual.
Norman E. Brague
Norman E. Brague has represented the City of Wadsworth as an attorney since 1973. He was appointed as assistant solicitor on October 2, 1973 and elected as solicitor in 1975. The title of the office was changed from solicitor to director of law in 1977. He was re-elected in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2011. As the attorney for the City of Wadsworth, Mr. Brague has prosecuted a wide range of misdemeanor criminal cases and has appeared on numerous cases in the Court of Appeals of the Ninth Appellate District. He has won cases in the Ohio Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of the Ohio reckless operation statute and upholding the authority of a municipal corporation under then existing law to prohibit the sale of beer within a zoning district.
As director of law, Mr. Brague spends much of his time advising city officials on a wide variety of legal issues related to the many varied aspects of city operations. He is a graduate of Wadsworth High School, Ohio University, and The Ohio State University College of Law. He has also attended numerous continuing legal education programs including a class on land use planning at the Harvard Law School.
Mr. Brague is a member of the Medina County Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. He is a Christian and a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Sons of the American Legion, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, Wadsworth Lodge 385, Free and Accepted Masons, Wadsworth Rotary Club, the Medina County Republican Central Committee, and several other religious, fraternal, and professional organizations.