Meet Law Director/ Prosecutor David M. Graves

The city’s law department is under the direction of Law Director David M. Graves. Mr. Graves has been a licensed attorney for over twenty-five years and has over nineteen years of municipal law experience.

Mr. Graves also currently serves as the Solicitor of the Village of Sheffield and Assistant Law Director for the City of Avon Lake. Previously, Mr. Graves has served as acting Law Director for the City of Avon Lake, acting Zoning Administrator for the City of Avon Lake, Prosecutor for the Village of Sheffield, and has served as special counsel for the City of Lorain.

Mr. Graves is the City of Sheffield Lake’s Prosecutor as well and handles all felony and misdemeanor criminal cases filed by the City of Sheffield Lake in Lorain Municipal Court. In his spare time, Mr. Graves enjoys traveling, spending time with his family and singing in the Cleveland Pops Orchestra Chorus.

The Law Department provides legal services to the City of Sheffield Lake, acting as its attorney. It also is responsible for the prosecution of criminal matters that occur within the City.

The Law Director provides legal advice to the Mayor, City Council, administrative officers and departments, and all commissions and boards.  The Director also represents the City in all court proceedings and hearings before any administrative body.

Preparation of legislation, contracts and all legal documents on behalf of the City are handled by the Law Department.

Civil Duties

The Law Department represents the City’s interests in all civil and administrative proceedings.

It files lawsuits and pursues claims on behalf of the City, including: collection of taxes; enforcement of ordinances, building and zoning codes; public nuisance abatement; eminent domain proceedings; claims for damage to city property.

It defends the City, its commissions, boards or officials in any proceeding where they may be named as parties. This includes damage and injury claims, allegations of civil rights violations and allegations of unconstitutionality made against the city.

The Law Department also represents the City in real estate development transactions and operational matters, and is responsible for certain filings and revivals of liens.

It drafts and approves proposed ordinances, resolutions, deeds, leases, contracts, legal pleadings and briefs and processes all insurance claims and recommends payment or settlement of claims deemed proper.


Criminal Duties

The City Prosecutor is responsible for handling all adult misdemeanor and felony criminal actions that occur in the City pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code. Cases involving juveniles are referred to Lorain County Juvenile Court.

Mayor’s Court

Minor traffic cases, and most cases filed under Sheffield Lake’s Municipal Ordinances, are heard initially by the City’s Magistrate in the Sheffield Lake Mayor’s Court. Fines for citations that do not require an appearance before the Magistrate may be paid at City Hall during regular business hours – Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Effective January 2, 2024, Mayor’s Court will be held every other Friday beginning at 3 p.m. Those who must appear before the magistrate will find the day and time of their appearance on the citation given to them by a police officer. Defendants who enter a plea of not guilty in Mayor’s Court will have their cases transferred to the Lorain Municipal Court. If you have questions, phone the court office at 440-949-6778 or email

Lorain Municipal Court

Sheffield Lake’s criminal cases initially are heard in the Lorain Municipal Court.

Lorain County Court of Common Pleas

Some cases are sent from Municipal Court to the Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office where they are presented to a Grand Jury. If indicted by the Grand Jury, the case proceeds to Lorain County Common Pleas Court.

Cases involving juveniles are sent to the Lorain County Juvenile Division.

Hours of operation: M-F 8 am-4 pm

Contact: David Graves, Law Director and Prosecutor, 440-949-6162.

Kelsey Leftwich, Legal Assistant, Clerk of Mayor’s Court, 440-949-6778