Wednesday, November 22, 2017 Elyria 33°


Inmate accused of threat to judge


ELYRIA — A Lorain County Jail inmate could be charged with intimidation and aggravated menacing after sending a threatening letter to county Common Pleas Judge Christopher Rothgery earlier this week, sheriff’s deputies said.


Joseph Griffith, 25, a Grafton Correctional Institution inmate who was being held at the county jail awaiting a court appearance for other criminal charges, allegedly sent the letter from the county jail, said sheriff’s Capt. Jim Drozdowski.

On Thursday, officials in Rothgery’s office in Elyria told sheriff’s deputies they’d received a threatening letter from Griffith on Wednesday, a sheriff’s report said.

Griffith was upset at Rothgery for various sentencing decisions — he applied for judicial release in May but was denied — and the letter threatens Rothgery’s life, Drozdowski said.

“It was a rambling message, but the threat was that he was going to kill (Rothgery),” Drozdowski said, adding that the one-and-a-half-page letter was the only item in the envelope.

Drozdowski said Griffith has sent threatening letters to people on more than one occasion prior to sending the letter to Rothgery this week.

In August 2006, Griffith was sentenced to two years in Grafton Correctional Institution for violating a protection order, intimidation and menacing by stalking.


While serving as an inmate at Grafton Correctional late last year, Griffith was charged with menacing by stalking. In December 2006 — during a brief transfer from Grafton Correctional to the Elyria City Jail — Griffith was charged with tampering with evidence, theft, illegal conveyance of prohibited items into a detention facility and drug paraphernalia, online court documents show.

In March, he was charged with intimidation of a witness and menacing by stalking, and he again received the same charges in April. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in both of those cases, which are pending.

Griffith’s home address is in Lorain, though some of his past criminal convictions are in Elyria and include theft charges in 2005, arson and disorderly conduct in March 2006 and menacing in May 2006, according to online court records. 

Contact Shawn Foucher at 653-6255 or

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