​​Judge Tony Capizzi serves as Montgomery County, Ohio Juvenile Court Judge, and was first elected in 2004. He previously served as an Acting Judge for Dayton Municipal Court. Judge Capizzi was admitted to the Ohio and Federal Bars in 1979, receiving his J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law and a B.A. from Saint Bonaventure University. He is also a graduate of Leadership Dayton.     


Montgomery County
Juvenile Court

Recent Events

Unfortunately, Montgomery County is gaining nationwide attention for the drug epidemic present in our communities.  CNN visited with Judge Capizzi to discuss the challenges he faces in his Juvenile Treatment Court.  

Judge Capizzi presented to over 100 attendees at the Florida Coalition for Children on Montgomery County Juvenile Court's partnership with IBM Watson in a presentation titled, "A Judicial Perspective of Cross-Sector Data Sharing in Action: Opportunities, Challenges, and Realities of Applying Artificial Intelligence to Address Critical Social Challenges."

Judge Capizzi discussed the value and impact of multi-sector data sharing involving courts, child welfare, and health and education.  Judge Capizzi gave attendees an overview of the advancements occurring within artificial intelligence in the Department of Health and Human Services and the judicial arena by giving them a glimpse into how Montgomery County uses cognitive computing to enhance case management in the largest juvenile treatment court in Ohio.
On July 18, 2017, Judge Capizzi was sworn in as President of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges at the NCJFCJ Annual Conference.  Judge Capizzi was honored to have his family and collegues, including the Honorable Nick Kuntz, Jim Cole, and Eric Shafer of Montgomery County Juvenile Court in attendance.    

The NCJFCJ is one of the largest and oldest judicial membership organizations in the nation, serving an estimated 30,000 professionals in the juvenile and family justice system including, judges, referees, commissioners, court administrators, social and mental health workers, police, and probation officers.

In an effort to improve the effectiveness of the nation's juvenile courts, the NCJFCJ has sought to address the myriad of issues in juvenile and family justice courts including, child abuse and neglect, adoption and foster care, juvenile justice, family violence, victims of juvenile offenders, military issues, alcohol and drug abuse, termination of parental rights, custody and visitation, and minority issues.

The NCJFCJ provides the resources, knowledge, and training to improve the lives of families and children seeking justice to those involved with juvenile, family, and domestic violence cases.  The NCJFCJ resources include, cutting-edge educational programs, wide-ranging technical assistance, nationally respected research to assist juvenile and family courts, and unique advanced degree programs for judges and other court professionals.
Montgomery County Juvenile Court has teamed up with IBM Watson to repurpose IBM's cognitive technology super computer for use in juvenile courts.  Montgomery County Juvenile Court is the first juvenile court in the country to pioneer the use of this technology in a juvenile specialty docket.  
Click on the photo for the full article!
In July, Judge Capizzi, together with members of the Montgomery County Juvenile Treatment Court staff and Jim Lindsey from South Community, presented at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Conference in Maryland.  

While in Maryland, the team took a quick trip to nearby Washington, DC, to take in the sights of our Nation's capital.
On June 24, 2017, former Montgomery County Juvenile Court Magistrate Kevin Barnes was  promoted to Colonel in the United States Army.  Judge Cpaizzi was honored to be in attendance for his friend and colleague.    
On May 25, 2017, Judge Capizzi and the Montgomery County Juvenile Treatment Court Team celebrated the graduation of fourteen participants!  

Congratulations to all the graduates
and their families!
Click on the Article "A Decade of Diversion: Ohio's Behavioral Health Juvenile Justice Initiative" to read more about Ohio's ever evoloving juvenile Justice System with comments from Judge Capizzi
Judge Capzzi was in Portland, Oregan presenting at the Reclaiming Futures National Conference regarding local listening sessions in the community and the IBM Watson Treatment Court Opportunity, as well as moderating a panel on the issue of "Responding to a Changing Population in Juvenile Justice" alongside Angela Irvine, Judge Denise Cubbon and Susan James-Andrews.
In April 2017, Judge Capizzi presented on the issue of racial disparity in the juvenile justice system at the Juvenile Justice Summit.  Judge Capizzi is pictured with the Honorable Debra Watlington of the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands.
Judge Capizzi was proud to present at the 2017 JDAI National Inter-Site Conference alongside Montgomery County Juvenile Court Administator James Cole, and Julie Bruns, Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office.  

JDAI is not about changing the behavior of the kids, it is about changing the system.

JDAI is in its 25th year and is realizing unprecidented expansion in counties nationwide.
“The greater a child’s terror, and the earlier it is experienced, the harder it becomes to develop a strong and healthy sense of self.” 
― Nathaniel Branden, Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

Child abuse and neglect is not a problem only for the child abused, but a problem for the whole community.  As a community, it is important that we come together to fight against child abuse and neglect.  On April 12, 2017, Judge Capizzi attended Montgomery County Children Services' Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention event to help raise awareness for this very important community issue.  
As a 1989 graduate of Leadership Dayton, Judge Capizzi is always eager to give back to the program that taught him so much.  In April 2017, Judge Capizzi spoke with the current Leadership Dayton class about the programs offered to youth and their families at Juvenile Court.  Judge Capizzi enjoyed the opportunity to speak with these future City of Dayton leaders.
On April 1, 2017, Judge Capizzi was given an opportunity to speak with the Dayton's Mason- Solar Lodge about Juvenile Court's Reclaiming Futures program.  Recognizing what an honor it is to be welcomed by such an esteemed group with a long history of communty service, Judge Capizzi says it was an experience he will never forget.  Judge Capizzi thanks the Masons of Dayton's Solar Lodge for their generous contribution to the Montgomery County Juvenile Court's Foundation.    
At the 2017 Montgomery County Frolic for Funds, Judge Capizzi was honored to be named as the 2017 Democrat of the Year.
Judge Capizzi wishes to thank Mark Owens for his leadership as Chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Party and his family, friends and supporters for their dedicated support.

Judge Capizzi is very proud to announce that the Montgomery County Juvenile Court recently received Specialized Docket Certification for Treatment Court, effective January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2019.
As a long time, dedicated fan of the University of Dayton Flyers Basketball program, Judge Capizzi congratulates the team on an outstanding season!  We are U.D.!  Gooooo Flyers!!
Judge Capizzi, representing the NCJFCJ, was honored to be one of the Judges selected to preside over the Championship Round of the National Moot Court Competition in Child Welfare and Adoption Law at Capital University Law School.  Champions were from the University of San Diego School of Law and the runner-up team was from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Judging alongside Judge Capizzi were Justice Pat DeWine, Ohio Supreme Court; Colleen Quinn, President of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys; and Rachel Janutis, Dean of Capital University Law School.
In March of 2017, Judge Capizzi presented at the NCSC Models for Change - Systems Reform in Juvenile Justice Summit on Using Data to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparity.  Judge Capizzi presented along side  Jennifer Lutz of the Center for Children's Law and Policy, Erica Nelson of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families' Race to Equity Product.  The presentation was moderated by Richard Morrisey of the Office of State Courts Administrator, Missouri.  
Judge Capizzi is pictured along side Ryan Gies, Deputy Director of DYS; Judge Michael J.Ryan, Cuyahoga County Juvenue Court; Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, Ohio Supreme Court; Stephanie Nelson, Manager, Ohio Supreme Court; Judge Beth Gill, Franklin County Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court; and Michael Buenger, Administrative Director, Ohio Supreme Court.  


Fair and Dedicated

-  Montgomery County Juvenile Court Judge since 2005 
- 25-year private practice career in juvenile and family law
- University of Dayton School of Law Distinguished Alumni 2015
- Ohio Judicial College Trustee & Instructor
- President-Elect of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court    
- City of Dayton Commissioner 1986 - 1998, and the driving force in
   bringing the Dragons baseball team to Dayton
- Past President of Neighborhoods, USA
- Former Chairman of the Finance and Intergovernmental Affairs
   Committee of the National League of Cities
- ​​​​​​​Expanded Juvenile Drug Court to help children conquer addiction
- Began Family Treatment Court to focus on heroin epidemic
- Led initiative to develop two Evening Reporting Centers for children
- Developed the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative
- Strengthened the Court's Reclaiming Futures and Natural Helper
   programs to better serve youth and their families
- Created a more efficient & timely hearing process for families
- Simplified the process for citizens to file legal documents without an
   attorney in Juvenile Court

Nationally Recognized

- President- Elect of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court
   Judges (NCJFCJ)
- Chairman of the NCJFCJ’s Juvenile Drug Court Training and Technical
   Assistance Project Advisory Committee
- Former Treasurer, Chairman of the Audit and Finance Committees, and
   Vice-Chair of the Juvenile and Family Law Advisory Committee of the
- Member of the NCJFCJ Executive Committee’s Guiding Coalition,
   Finance, Governance, Legislative and Diversity Committees
- Senior Judicial Fellow for RECLAIMING FUTURES and supervisor
   of Reclaiming Futures judicial training.
- Trustee on the Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College
- Member of the Ohio Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Children,
   Families & the Courts, the Advisory Committee on Case Management,
   and Chairman of the Ohio Juvenile Judges Curriculum Committee
- Past-President of the Ohio Association of Juvenile Court Judges 
- Ohio Judicial College Instructor 

Experienced, Fair and Dedicated to Children & Families

In his 12 years as Judge in Montgomery County Juvenile Court, there is much Judge Capizzi is proud of having accomplished in service to Montgomery County youth and their families.
The current Evening Reporting Center serves as an alternative to secure confinement for both pre and post-adjudicated youth who score as medium and high risk through the Ohio Youth Assessment Survey tool. The Court will expand the services currently offered at the Reporting Center by addressing the needs of low-risk youth through a second Evening Reporting Center branch.  The goals of the centers are to reduce the number of secure detention days served by youth, to improve long-term youth success, reduce recidivism rates and divert low-risk youth from entering the Court system. To date, the Evening Reporting Center I branch shows an overall rate of 71% of youth successfully completing the program.
Developed and  implemented a Diversion Unit that allows for the unofficial handling and supervision of low-risk youth charged with misdemeanor and unruly cases whose offenses would normally be filed with an official case status. Youth involved in the unit will engage in services separate from other youth scoring as medium or high risk and who are on official probation. This new endeavor will not only keep youth risk levels separated, but it should reduce the number of cases filed officially in the Court. ln turn, this will reduce the number of youth placed on official probation, thus reducing the number of potential detainments caused by violations of court orders.
 Expanded the Clerks in the Courtroom program to handle all types of juvenile cases
Created a Family Treatment Court to address the needs of families whose parent(s) or caregivers are experiencing a substance use and/or mental health disorder while undergoing dependency and legal custody proceedings. The Family Treatment Court will provide services to the parent(s) and youth individually while also providing wraparound services to the family unit as a whole. The goal is to successfully treat the parent or caregiver's disorder, to address any youth needs, and to prevent children from being placed in foster placements by successfully reuniting healed families.
Developed Project Empower to improve the overall health and well-being of youth involved with the Juvenile Court System by enhancing existing programs and services offered in its Detention Genter. The Court plans to implement and expand Adolescent Skill-Streaming programming through Aggression Replacement Training groups and to implement Adolescent Wellness Programming. This programming will help to address the social, mental and physical health needs of the Court's detained youth while also working to reduce the number of detention days and impact long-term youth success. The programming will help youth transition to their families and communities upon release by providing skills and information transferable to their daily lives.
Two-thirds of the Juvenile Court's cases went fully operational under the Clerks in the Courtroom program with delinquency and support cases. Clerks in the Courtroom is a realtime process of streamlining the hearing process by providing Court entries to parties immediately after a court session is ended. Clerks in the Courtroom provides an efficient method of recording key aspects of a hearing and allows the entries to be electronically signed by the magistrates and judges. This eliminates any lengthy processing and waiting time for youth and families to receive their paperwork.
 The Court underwent its first Prison Rape Elimination Act audit at its Center for Adolescent Services  building, a secure residential correctional/treatment facility. The Court passed all requirements with 100% compliance in Prison Rape Elimination Act standards.
Helping Adolescents Achieve Long-Term Outcomes completed a mural in partnership with K-12 Gallery. The largest mural completed by the Helping Adolescents Achieve Long-Term Outcomes program to date, the artwork is located at 300 Hamilton Avenue on a wall of the Wilson Sign Company building. The artwork spanned an impressive 3,000 square feet and won Keep Ohio Beautiful's "Best Community Revitalization Project"  aw ard.
Completed two community neighborhood cleanups in April and October of 2015. Collectively, work groups removed over 12 tons of trash from Dayton neighborhoods. Partners included Dayton Police, United Against Violence, residential neighborhood community members, Court staff, local volunteers and Court youth.
The Court completed Screening Brief lntervention and Referral to Treatment training .  Screening Brief lntervention and Referral to Treatment is a model used to identify the most appropriate level of treatment needed for a youth.
The Court continued its involvement in the Juvenile Detention Alternative lnitiative in partnership with the Ohio Department of Youth Services and in conjunction with seven other Ohio counties. JDAI 's core values are designed to reduce the need for youth to be in secure detention, to reduce the length of time they remain in detention and to address the issue of disproportionate minority contact while always balancing the need for public safety.  Since 2009, by utilizing the JDAI core values and safe alternatives to detention, the Court has reduced detention admissions by 49% and youth of color admissions by 50%. Detention's average general population has also been reduced by 49% from 76 youth to 39 youth.
Partnered with the Ohio Department of Youth Services to provide care and control of a portion of the Department of Youth Services' female population.  
Opened the first Evening Reporting Center, as an alternative to detention and as a potential dispositional option. Started as a pilot with 10 slots and increased to a maximum of 20 slots. 
Applied for and received a three-year $300,000 state grant from the Ohio Department of Youth Services to expand the Evening Reporting Center.  Through this grant, the Court will be able to provide evidence based programming to youth ordered to attend the Evening Reporting Center. 
Received a Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities Drug Court Grant for $157, 675
Received $35,000 from the Department of Youth Services to provide Seven Challenges training and program implementation, as well as additional funding of $65,000 to continue the Learning Independence Family Empowerment program expansion grant for the Intervention Center.  
Awarded a three-year Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Drug Court Enhancement Grant for $175,481 a year ($526,443 total). Grant provides for Seven Challenges programming, coordination of random drug usage monitoring and expansion of Natural Helper/mentor coordination.
Received the two-year Project Safe Neighborhoods grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety; $50,000 a year to provide evidence-based programming to violent youth or youth at risk of becoming victims of violence (due to peer relationships) that live in the Westwood neighborhood and/or reside in the 45417 zip code.
Received the Learning Independence Family Empowerment Expansion Continuation Grant, a three-year, $150,000 per year, state grant from DYS to continue the LIFE program provided by South Community, Inc. in the Juvenile Court Intervention Center.  
In partnership with K-12 Gallery, Juvenile Court secured a two-year, $20,000 matching grant from the Ohio Arts Council to continue the Helping Adolescents Achieve Long Term Objectives Program.  Through therapeutic art classes, youth participants created four new art murals and unveiled them to the community in 2014.  The HAALO program was recognized by the Dayton City Commission through their City of Learners initiative.  The HAALO program was further recognized by United Way through their Global Youth Service Day for ongoing dedication and beautification to our community. 
Received a $1,000 grant from “Keep Montgomery County Beautiful” for a graffiti abatement summer community service mural project.  In an effort to nurture the relationship between the youth in our community and the local police department, youth worked to create a mural in honor of late Officer Steve Whalen.  The youth worked with the police department’s Graffiti Task Force to create and execute this mural on a graffiti-ridden wall of Steve Whalen Boulevard.  This project brought together county and city leaders to celebrate the youths' contribution to our community.    
Began development of the Clerks in the Courtroom project 
Opened a second clerk’s office on the mezzanine level of the courthouse for  attorney and Children Services filings.
Created the Citizens Services Office to aid parties who wish to file with the Court pre se
Received a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Drug Court Expansion three -year grant for $325,000 a year, $975,000 total. Grant provides for Functional Family Therapy and Learning Independence Family Empowerment Program services for Drug Court Youth.    
Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative strategies continued to make an impact on juvenile detention.  From 2009 to 2012, the Court targeted the reduction of detention for violations of court order, failure to appear and domestic violence cases.  During this period, admissions to detention were reduced by 39% for these types of cases.  During this time period, the average daily population decreased by 47% and length of stay by 17%.  From special summons initiation in July 2011 through January 2013, 696 special summonses were issued and only 34 youth failed to appear, a success rate of 95%.
Established a sexual component of Juvenile Cognitive Rehabilitation Effort, identified as the Specialized Treatment Program.  
Expanded the Learning Independence Family Empowerment Program to include unofficial court involved youth.  The Court received a two-year federal Bureau of Justice grant to fund the expansion.
Began the process of developing an advanced case action process to improve hearing checklists, set up generation of entries that accompany the new checklists and utilize electronic signatures for the judges and magistrates which allow families to leave hearings with a Judge's or Magistrate's Decision or Court Order .  
In collaboration with Children Services, continued work on the creation of a “Crossover Youth Practice Model” Division Program for youth who move between the child welfare and juvenile justice system.  
The Court and South Community applied for federal funding to expand the LIFE Program to serve a new population:  non-violent, non-adjudicated youth.
Further implemented JDAI strategy with the bifurcation of probation violation warrants into a two-tiered system, one a detained track, that has a presumption of detention prior to the next court hearing; and the other being a release track, releasing the youth to a detention alternative prior to the next court hearing.  The Court has seen admissions to detention reduced by 20% from 2010 to 2011.
Continued reduction in the commitments to the Ohio Department of Youth Services through the use of community alternatives such as Juvenile Cognitive Rehabilitation Effort, the Center for Adolescent Services, and Corrections, which reduced commitments from 129 youth in July 2008-June 2009 to 38 two years later for the same time period for 2010-2011.
The Court and Children Services Division initiated a “Crossover Youth Practice Model” planning initiative.  The planning group included court personnel, prosecutors, public defenders, school representatives, mental health professionals, child welfare staff and law enforcement.  The group’s focus is improved services to meet the needs of “crossover” youth, who move between the child welfare and juvenile justice system.
The Center for Adolescent Services was re-accreditated by the American Correctional Association with 100% compliance.
Nicholas Residential Treatment Center earned its licensure from Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, which allows the Juvenile Court to receive reimbursement through the federal IV-E entitlement funding program.
With the start-up of the Juvenile Cognitive Rehabilitation Effort, the Court undertook a concerted effort to reduce the number of Department of Youth Services commitments through a network of secure community court alternatives such as Juvenile Cognitive Rehabilitation Effort, Center for Adolescent Services and Corrections, which reduced the number of commitments to the Department of Youth Services from 87 in July 2008-June 2009 to 37 in same time period for 2009-2010.
Joined four other major Ohio counties and the Ohio Department of Youth Services in the Annie Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI).  Beginning 2011, under JDAI, the Court began to implement strategies to reduce unnecessary detention of youth.
Began the implementation of “Bridges Out of Poverty” concepts by hosting a training “kick-off” event.  Continued offering extended hours for filing, conferences, visitation and probation meetings as well as coverage of the main reception area over the lunch hour.
To address gun violence and offer an additional resource to our most violent, gang-involved youth, in May 2010 Juvenile Court initiated its first of many Juvenile "Call-In" sessions, with a total of 16 youth participating.  The Community Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence is modeled after the successful Boston Strategy effort, which reduced gun violence in that area. 
Developed the Helping Adolescents Achieve Long-Term Outcomes (HAALO) Project,  a joint effort between the K12/TEJAS Gallery and the Montgomery County Court Juvenile Probation Department.  This project has been successful in bringing students together to build skills that will sustain them for many years through art.  Funding for the project in initially provided by Ohio Arts Council and The Dayton Foundation.      
Received funding from the Ohio Department of Youth Services to begin the Juvenile Cognitive Rehabilitation Effort .  The Juvenile Cognitive Rehabilitation Effort is housed at the Juvenile Justice Center and provides Aggression Replacement Training  to youth ordered to complete the program.  
Received funding from the Office of Criminal Justice Services to begin the Juvenile Court Accountability Project.  This project focuses on youth who have financial obligations to the Court.  In the first two months, the Court  collected over $2,000 in court costs and fines while closing out cases of over 20 youth from probation supervision.
Awarded a grant by the Ohio Department of Youth Services to reduce Disproportionate Minority Contact within the juvenile justice system, with the initial target area being Dayton.  Since March 1, 2009, the program received 229 referrals.  Of those 104 who completed the program, 88 were successful and 16 were unsuccessful; 78 were returned to the Court either due to program ineligibility or their refusal to participate.
Pursued the licensure of Nicholas Residential Treatment Center as a residential facility under the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services in order to qualify for possible Title IV-E certification and reimbursement.
Became a pilot for other juvenile courts with the "Building Bridges Out of Poverty" program.   
Developed a Dependency Case Management Team 
Implemented substantial changes in the organizational structure of the Center for Adolescent Services to provide for a greater emphasis on the delivery of treatment to the youth and families.
Expanded the Learning Independence Family Empowerment program   to begin  serving boys.  At the close of 2008, this program had four full time therapists and three full time Probation Officers with a capacity to serve 135 girls and 45 boys annually.
The Court hired 5 new additional therapists to maximize efficient response to requests for diagnostic assessments, increase response time to crisis and provide individual and group mental health services to detained youth.
Since the beginning of the Re-Entry Court that started in December 2005, revocations and recommitments of Ohio Department of Youth Services parolees have dropped 64%.
The LIFE program was expanded in 2007 to serve 45 more female offenders.  
In the first accreditation of the Center for Adolescent Services, it received 100% compliance on both American Corrections Association's mandatory and non-mandatory standards.  On January 14, 2008, the Center for  Adolescent Services was officially awarded national accreditation by the ACA at its winter conference.  Also re-certified was the Court’s Probation Department and the Nicholas Residential Treatment Center.       
Completed first year of the Re-Entry Court Program for youths released on parole by the Ohio Department of Youth Services. 
Preliminary results have revealed that revocations and recommitments   of the parolees are down almost 50% from the previous year.

Created an Intensive Probation Services unit, which targets such areas as substance abuse, mental health, sexual offending and female gender specific services.  These services are geared toward high-risk probationers.

Received an 18-month grant to implement a comprehensive system of care targeting female juvenile offenders and their families.  

Established two transitional programs, one in Detention Services and one at Nicholas Residential Treatment Center.  Workers serve as liaisons between the youths, their families, the schools, the probation officers and various education and social services agencies to provide the necessary support to help youth return successfully to their schools or other educational or employment options.

Montgomery County Juvenile Court became the lead agency for the national Reclaiming Futures effort . The Reclaiming Futures program has brought an impetus to community planning surrounding substance abuse intervention/treatment for youths involved in the juvenile justice system.  It also created the Natural Helpers Program of community volunteers, who provide support and encouragement to youths and families and connect with them with opportunities and services to bring about positive life changes.

Developed the Learning Independence Family Empowerment (LIFE) program as an intensive mental health treatment program for girls and their families and an evidence-based clinical treatment and intervention model entitled “Functional Family Therapy.”      
Opened girls unit at Center for Adolescent Services.
Began conducting Re-Entry hearings in December on all youth released   on parole by Ohio Department of Youth Services.
Juvenile Drug Court dramatically increased its youth population to    
serve approximately 100 girls and boys.